Let’s do it in Parallel

Parallel coordinate displays are popular – especially in InfoVis – for quite a while. Now we have the ultimate reference with Al Inselberg‘s book (not surprisingly) called “Parallel Coordinates“.

Al Inselberg giving a talk at the DataVis workshop in Berlin 2006

Most of the book actually looks at geometric properties of parallel coordinates, and thus tends to overtax my mathematical education. The most interesting part of the book (from my point of view, which is always biased towards data analysis applications) is Chapter 10: “Data Mining and Other Applications”. One soon gets the idea that parallel coordinate views need an interactive working style/tools and thus many graphics of real world data sets fill this chapter. To give a good idea what is crucial about parallel coordinates, let me point to the discussion of this older post on Andrew’s blog.

So if you still can’t figure out what these funny plots mean, go and get the book!

The only point I don’t like too much about the book is the “useless” CD which comes with the book, which has some sample data but misses the real word examples discussed in chapter 10. Nowadays everybody would expect this data to come via a webpage.

The ultimate question though, will not be answered by the book: Who did invent parallel coordinates? This miracle will still be open and only real insiders will know the answer ;-).


  1. Yihui says:

    Maurice d’Ocagne?… (according to Wikipedia)

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