This Article 
 Bibliographic References 
 Add to: 
Polaris: A System for Query, Analysis, and Visualization of Multidimensional Relational Databases
January-March 2002 (vol. 8 no. 1)
pp. 52-65

Abstract—In the last several years, large multidimensional databases have become common in a variety of applications such as data warehousing and scientific computing. Analysis and exploration tasks place significant demands on the interfaces to these databases. Because of the size of the data sets, dense graphical representations are more effective for exploration than spreadsheets and charts. Furthermore, because of the exploratory nature of the analysis, it must be possible for the analysts to change visualizations rapidly as they pursue a cycle involving first hypothesis and then experimentation. In this paper, we present Polaris, an interface for exploring large multidimensional databases that extends the well-known Pivot Table interface. The novel features of Polaris include an interface for constructing visual specifications of table-based graphical displays and the ability to generate a precise set of relational queries from the visual specifications. The visual specifications can be rapidly and incrementally developed, giving the analyst visual feedback as they construct complex queries and visualizations.

[1] C. Ahlberg, C. Williamson, and B. Shneiderman, “Dynamic Queries for Information Exploration: An Implementation and Evaluation,” Proc. ACM CHI Int'l Conf. Human Factors in Computing, pp. 619-626, 1992.
[2] A. Aiken, J. Chen, M. Stonebraker, and A. Woodruff, “Tioga-2: A Direct Manipulation Database Visualization Environment,” Proc. IEEE Int'l Conf. Data Eng., pp. 208-217, 1996.
[3] R. Becker, W.S. Cleveland, and R.D. Martin, “Trellis Graphics Displays: A Multi-Dimensional Data Visualization Tool for Data Mining,” Proc. Third Ann. Conf. Knowledge Discovery in Databases, Aug. 1997.
[4] B. Bederson, “Pad++: Advances in Multiscale Interfaces,” Proc. Human Factors in Computing Systems CHI '94 Conf., p. 315, 1994.
[5] J. Bertin, Graphics and Graphic Information Processing. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1980.
[6] J. Bertin, Semiology of Graphics. Madison, Wis.: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1983. Translated by W.J. Berg.
[7] E.A. Bier et al., "Toolglass and Magic Lenses: The See-Through User Interface," Proc. Siggraph, ACM Press, New York, 1993, pp. 73-80.
[8] R. Bosch, C. Stolte, G. Stoll, M. Rosenblum, and P. Hanrahan, “Performance Analysis and Visualization of Parallel Systems Using SimOS and Rivet: A Case Study,” Proc. Sixth Ann. Symp. High-Performance Computer Architecture, p. 360-371, Jan. 2000.
[9] R. Bosch, C. Stolte, D. Tang, J. Gerth, M. Rosenblum, and P. Hanrahan, “Rivet: A Flexible Environment for Computer Systems Visualization,” Computer Graphics, pp. 68-73, Feb. 2000.
[10] A. Buja, D. Cook, and D.F. Swayne, “Interactive High-Dimensional Data Visualization,” J. Computational and Graphical Statistics, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 78-99, 1996.
[11] W.S. Cleveland, The Elements of Graphing Data.Wadsworth, 1985.
[12] W.S. Cleveland, Visualizing Data. Summit, N.J.: Hobart Press, 1993.
[13] M. Derthick, J. Kolojejchick, and S.F. Roth, “An Interactive Visualization Environment for Data Exploration,” Proc. Knowledge Discovery in Databases, pp. 2-9, Aug. 1997.
[14] S. Eick, “Visualizing Multi-Dimensional Data,” Computer Graphics, pp. 61-67, Feb. 2000.
[15] Microsoft Excel—User's Guide. Redmond, Wash.: Microsoft, 1995.
[16] J. Gray, A. Bosworth, A. Layman, and H. Pirahesh, Data Cube: A Relational Aggregation Operator Generalizing Group-By, Cross-Tab, and Sub-Totals Proc. Int'l Conf. Database Eng. (ICDE), pp. 152-159, 1996.
[17] P.B. Gibbons, Y. Matias, and V. Poosala, “Aqua Project White Paper,” technical report, Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J., Dec. 1997.
[18] J.A. Hartigan, “Printer Graphics for Clustering,” J. Statistical Computation and Simulation, vol. 4, pp. 187-213, 1975.
[19] J.M. Hellerstein, P.J. Haas, and H.J. Wang, "Online Aggregation," Proc. ACM SIGMOD Int'l Conf. Management of Data, ACM Press, New York, 1997, pp. 171-182.
[20] “Human Genome Project,” available at , Sept. 2001.
[21] H. Igehy, G. Stoll, and P. Hanrahan, "The Design of a Parallel Graphics Interface," to be published in Proc. Siggraph 98, ACM Press, New York, 1998.
[22] D.A. Keim and H.-P. Kriegel, “VisDB: Database Exploration Using Multidimensional Visualization,” IEEE Computer Graphics&Applications, pp. 40-49, Sept. 1994.
[23] S.M. Kosslyn, Elements of Graph Design. New York: W.H. Freeman and Co., 1994.
[24] R.J. Lipton, J.F. Naughton, D.A. Schneider, and S. Seshadri, “Efficient Sampling Strategies for Relational Database Operations,” Theoretical Computer Science, vol. 116, nos. 1-2, pp. 195-226, 1993.
[25] M. Livny, R. Ramakrishnan, K. Beyer, G. Chen, D. Donjerkovic, S. Lawande, J. Myllymaki, and K. Wenger, “DEVise: Integrated Querying and Visual Exploration of Large Datasets,” Proc. ACM SIGMOD, May 1997.
[26] J.D. Mackinlay, “Automating the Design of Graphical Presentations of Relational Information,” ACM Trans. Graphics, pp. 110-141, Apr. 1986.
[27] R. Rao and S.K. Card, “The Table Lens: Merging Graphical and Symbolic Representation in an Interactive Focus+Context Visualization for Tabular Information,” Proc. Human Factors in Computing Systems CHI '94 Conf., pp. 318-322, 1994.
[28] M. Jacomet and W. Guggenbuhl, "Layout-Dependent Fault Analysis and Test Synthesis for CMOS Circuits," IEEE Trans. Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits, vol. 12, no. 6, June 1993, pp. 888-898.
[29] S.F. Roth et al., "Interactive Graphic Design Using Automatic Presentation Knowledge," Proc. CHI 94 Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM Press, New York, 1994, pp. 112-117.
[30] S.F. Roth, P. Lucas, J.A. Senn, C.C. Gomberg, M.B. Burks, P.J. Stroffolino, J.A. Kolojejchick, and C. Dunmire, Visage: A User Interface Environment for Exploring Information Proc. IEEE Symp. Information Visualization (InfoVis '96), pp. 3-10, 1996.
[31] “Sloan Digital Sky Survey,” available:http:/, Sept. 2001.
[32] M. Spenke, C. Beilken, and T. Berlage, “FOCUS: The Interactive Table for Product Comparison and Selection,” Proc. ACM Symp. User Interface Software and Technology, Nov. 1996.
[33] Spotfire Inc., available:http:/, Sept. 2001.
[34] S.S. Stevens, “On the Theory of Scales of Measurement,” Science, vol. 103, pp. 677-680, 1946.
[35] D. Tang and M. Baker, “Analysis of a Local-Area Wireless Network,” Mobicom, 2000.
[36] E. Thomsen, OLAP Solutions: Building Multidimensional Information Systems. New York: Wiley Computer Publishing, 1997.
[37] D. Travis, Effective Color Displays: Theory and Practice. London: Academic Press, 1991.
[38] E.R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Graphics Press, Cheshire, Conn., 1983, p. 111.
[39] J. Ullman, “Efficient Implementation of Data Cubes via Materialized Views,” Proc. Knowledge Discovery in Databases, 1996.
[40] M.O. Ward, "XmdvTool: Integrating Multiple Methods for Visualizing Multivariate Data," Proc. Visualization '94, IEEE CS Press, 1994, pp. 326-336.
[41] L. Wilkinson, The Grammar of Graphics. New York: Springer, 1999.

Index Terms:
Database visualization, database analysis, visualization formalism, multidimensional databases.
Chris Stolte, Diane Tang, Pat Hanrahan, "Polaris: A System for Query, Analysis, and Visualization of Multidimensional Relational Databases," IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 52-65, Jan.-March 2002, doi:10.1109/2945.981851
Usage of this product signifies your acceptance of the Terms of Use.