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Patent Analysis of

Landmark point selection

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10002180

Application Number

US14/884511

Application Date

15 October 2015

Publication Date

19 June 2018

Current Assignee

AYASDI, INC.

Original Assignee (Applicant)

AYASDI, INC.

International Classification

G06F17/00,G06F17/30

Cooperative Classification

G06F17/30598,G06F17/30958,G06F16/285,G06F16/9024

Inventor

SEXTON, HARLAN,KLOKE, JENNIFER

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10002180 Landmark point selection 1 US10002180 Landmark point selection 2 US10002180 Landmark point selection 3
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Abstract

An exemplary method comprises receiving data points, selecting a first subset of the data points to generate an initial set of landmarks, each data point of the first subset defining a landmark point and for each non-landmark data point: calculating first data point distances between a respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks, identifying a first shortest data point distance from among the first data point distances between the respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks, and storing the first shortest data point distance as a first landmark distance for the respective non-landmark data point. The method further comprising identifying a non-landmark data point with a longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances and adding the identified non-landmark data point associated as a first landmark point to the initial set of landmarks.

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Claims

1. A method comprising: receiving data points; selecting a first subset of the data points to generate an initial set of landmarks, each data point of the first subset defining a landmark point;for each non-landmark data point, calculating first data point distances between a respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks; identifying a first shortest data point distance from among the first data point distances between the respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks; and storing the first shortest data point distance as a first landmark distance for the respective non-landmark data point; identifying a non-landmark data point with a longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points; and adding the non-landmark data point associated with the longest first landmark distance as a first landmark point to the initial set of landmarks to generate an expanded set of landmark points.

2. The method of claim 1, further comprising: storing a set of longest landmark distances for the non-landmark data points of the expanded set of landmark points; calculating second data point distances between the non-landmark data points associated with the set of longest landmark distances and each landmark point of the expanded set of landmark points, the expanded set of landmark points including the first landmark point; and adding the non-landmark data point associated with a longest second landmark distance to the expanded set of landmark points, thereby categorizing the non-landmark data point as a new landmark point.

3. The method of claim 2, further comprising: determining if the expanded set of landmark points includes a predetermined number of landmark points;if the expanded set of landmark points includes less than the predetermined number of landmark points: storing another set of longest second landmark distances for the non-landmark data points of the expanded set of landmark points; calculating third data point distances between the non-landmark data points associated with the set of longest second landmark distances and each landmark point of the first and second sets of landmark points, the first set and second set of landmark points including the first and second landmark point; and adding the non-landmark data point associated with the longest second landmark distance as a another landmark point to the set of landmark points; and if the expanded set of landmark points includes more than the predetermined number of landmark points, generating a visualization of nodes and edges using the expanded set of landmark points instead of the received data points.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the expanded set of landmark points is an approximation of the received data points.

5. The method of claim 1, further comprising:before the first subset of the data points are selected to generate an initial set of landmarks: accessing a data structure containing information; generating a mathematical reference space; and mapping a similarity space using the information from the data structure into the mathematical reference space to generate the data points, wherein each data point is defined by the mapping into the mathematical reference space.

6. The method of claim 5, further comprising: generating a cover for the landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points in the mathematical reference space based on a resolution; clustering the landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points into subsets using a metric to generate subsets of the landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points to determine each individual node of a plurality of nodes, each of the nodes of the plurality of nodes comprising members representative of at least one subset of the landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points; and generating an interactive visualization comprising nodes and a plurality of edges wherein each of the edges of the plurality of edges connects nodes with shared members.

7. The method of claim 5, further comprising: generating a cover for the data points in the mathematical reference space based on a resolution; clustering the data points into subsets using a metric to generate subsets of the data points to determine each individual node of a plurality of nodes, each of the nodes of the plurality of nodes comprising members representative of at least one subset of the data points, each node defining a data point; and generating an interactive visualization comprising nodes of landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points and a plurality of edges wherein each of the edges of the plurality of edges connects nodes with shared members.

8. The method of claim 1 wherein selection of the first subset of the data points is random.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein receiving data points comprises storing the data points in a memory system and the initial set of landmarks is stored in a non-transitory storage system.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein identifying the non-landmark data point with the longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points comprises identifying a predetermined number of non-landmark data points, each of the predetermined number of non-landmark data points having longer first landmark distances in comparison with the other first landmark distances of the other non-landmark data points.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein adding the non-landmark data point associated with the longest first landmark distance as a first landmark point to the initial set of landmarks comprises adding the predetermined number of non-landmark data points associated with the longer first landmark distances to the initial set of landmarks.

12. A non-transitory computer readable medium comprising instructions executable by a processor to perform a method, the method comprising: receiving data points; selecting a first subset of the data points to generate an initial set of landmarks, each data point of the first subset defining a landmark point;for each non-landmark data point, calculating first data point distances between a respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks; identifying a first shortest data point distance from among the first data point distances between the respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks; and storing the first shortest data point distance as a first landmark distance for the respective non-landmark data point; identifying a non-landmark data point with a longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points; and adding the non-landmark data point associated with the longest first landmark distance as a first landmark point to the initial set of landmarks to generate an expanded set of landmark points.

13. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 12, the method further comprising: storing a set of longest landmark distances for the non-landmark data points of the expanded set of landmark points; calculating second data point distances between the non-landmark data points associated with the set of longest landmark distances and each landmark point of the expanded set of landmark points, the expanded set of landmark points including the first landmark point; and adding the non-landmark data point associated with a longest second landmark distance to the expanded set of landmark points, thereby categorizing the non-landmark data point as a new landmark point.

14. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 13, the method further comprising: determining if the expanded set of landmark points includes a predetermined number of landmark points;if the expanded set of landmark points includes less than the predetermined number of landmark points: storing another set of longest second landmark distances for the non-landmark data points of the expanded set of landmark points; calculating third data point distances between the non-landmark data points associated with the set of longest second landmark distances and each landmark point of the first and second sets of landmark points, the first set and second set of landmark points including the first and second landmark point; and adding the non-landmark data point associated with the longest second landmark distance as a another landmark point to the set of landmark points; and if the expanded set of landmark points includes more than the predetermined number of landmark points, generating a visualization of nodes and edges using the expanded set of landmark points instead of the received data points.

15. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 12, the method further comprising:before the first subset of the data points are selected to generate an initial set of landmarks: accessing a data structure containing information; generating a mathematical reference space; and mapping a similarity space using the information from the data structure into the mathematical reference space to generate the data points, wherein each data point is defined by the mapping into the mathematical reference space.

16. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 15, the method further comprising: generating a cover for the landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points in the mathematical reference space based on a resolution; clustering the landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points into subsets using a metric to generate subsets of the landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points to determine each individual node of a plurality of nodes, each of the nodes of the plurality of nodes comprising members representative of at least one subset of the landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points; and generating an interactive visualization comprising nodes and a plurality of edges wherein each of the edges of the plurality of edges connects nodes with shared members.

17. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 15, the method further comprising: generating a cover for the data points in the mathematical reference space based on a resolution; clustering the data points into subsets using a metric to generate subsets of the data points to determine each individual node of a plurality of nodes, each of the nodes of the plurality of nodes comprising members representative of at least one subset of the data points, each node defining a data point; and generating an interactive visualization comprising nodes of landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points and a plurality of edges wherein each of the edges of the plurality of edges connects nodes with shared members.

18. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 12, wherein identifying the non-landmark data point with the longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points comprises identifying a predetermined number of non-landmark data points, each of the predetermined number of non-landmark data points having longer first landmark distances in comparison with the other first landmark distances of the other non-landmark data points.

19. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 18, wherein adding the non-landmark data point associated with the longest first landmark distance as a first landmark point to the initial set of landmarks comprises adding the predetermined number of non-landmark data points associated with the longer first landmark distances to the initial set of landmarks.

20. A system comprising: an input module configured to receive data points; a random landmark selection module configured to select a first subset of the data points to generate an initial set of landmarks, each data point of the first subset defining a landmark point;a distance calculation module configured to, for each non-landmark data point, calculate first data point distances between a respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks; identify a first shortest data point distance from among the first data point distances between the respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks; and store the first shortest data point distance as a first landmark distance for the respective non-landmark data point; a landmark distance comparison module configured to identify a non-landmark data point with a longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points; and a landmark assignment module configured to add the non-landmark data point associated with the longest first landmark distance as a first landmark point to the initial set of landmarks to generate an expanded set of landmark points.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. A method comprising:
    • receiving data points
    • selecting a first subset of the data points to generate an initial set of landmarks, each data point of the first subset defining a landmark point
    • for each non-landmark data point, calculating first data point distances between a respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks
    • identifying a first shortest data point distance from among the first data point distances between the respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks
    • and storing the first shortest data point distance as a first landmark distance for the respective non-landmark data point
    • identifying a non-landmark data point with a longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points
    • and adding the non-landmark data point associated with the longest first landmark distance as a first landmark point to the initial set of landmarks to generate an expanded set of landmark points.
    • 2. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
      • storing a set of longest landmark distances for the non-landmark data points of the expanded set of landmark points
      • calculating second data point distances between the non-landmark data points associated with the set of longest landmark distances and each landmark point of the expanded set of landmark points, the expanded set of landmark points including the first landmark point
      • and adding the non-landmark data point associated with a longest second landmark distance to the expanded set of landmark points, thereby categorizing the non-landmark data point as a new landmark point.
    • 4. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the expanded set of landmark points is an approximation of the received data points.
    • 5. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
      • before the first subset of the data points are selected to generate an initial set of landmarks: accessing a data structure containing information
      • generating a mathematical reference space
      • and mapping a similarity space using the information from the data structure into the mathematical reference space to generate the data points, wherein each data point is defined by the mapping into the mathematical reference space.
    • 8. The method of claim 1 wherein
      • selection of the first subset of the data points is random.
    • 9. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • receiving data points comprises
    • 10. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • identifying the non-landmark data point with the longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points comprises
  • 12
    12. A non-transitory computer readable medium comprising
    • instructions executable by a processor to perform a method, the method comprising: receiving data points
    • selecting a first subset of the data points to generate an initial set of landmarks, each data point of the first subset defining a landmark point
    • for each non-landmark data point, calculating first data point distances between a respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks
    • identifying a first shortest data point distance from among the first data point distances between the respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks
    • and storing the first shortest data point distance as a first landmark distance for the respective non-landmark data point
    • identifying a non-landmark data point with a longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points
    • and adding the non-landmark data point associated with the longest first landmark distance as a first landmark point to the initial set of landmarks to generate an expanded set of landmark points.
    • 13. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 12, the method further comprising:
      • storing a set of longest landmark distances for the non-landmark data points of the expanded set of landmark points
      • calculating second data point distances between the non-landmark data points associated with the set of longest landmark distances and each landmark point of the expanded set of landmark points, the expanded set of landmark points including the first landmark point
      • and adding the non-landmark data point associated with a longest second landmark distance to the expanded set of landmark points, thereby categorizing the non-landmark data point as a new landmark point.
    • 15. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 12, the method further comprising:
      • before the first subset of the data points are selected to generate an initial set of landmarks: accessing a data structure containing information
      • generating a mathematical reference space
      • and mapping a similarity space using the information from the data structure into the mathematical reference space to generate the data points, wherein each data point is defined by the mapping into the mathematical reference space.
    • 18. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 12, wherein
      • identifying the non-landmark data point with the longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points comprises
  • 20
    20. A system comprising:
    • an input module configured to receive data points
    • a random landmark selection module configured to select a first subset of the data points to generate an initial set of landmarks, each data point of the first subset defining a landmark point
    • a distance calculation module configured to, for each non-landmark data point, calculate first data point distances between a respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks
    • identify a first shortest data point distance from among the first data point distances between the respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks
    • and store the first shortest data point distance as a first landmark distance for the respective non-landmark data point
    • a landmark distance comparison module configured to identify a non-landmark data point with a longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points
    • and a landmark assignment module configured to add the non-landmark data point associated with the longest first landmark distance as a first landmark point to the initial set of landmarks to generate an expanded set of landmark points.
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Description

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention(s)

Embodiments discussed herein are directed to grouping of data points for data analysis and more particularly to generating a graph utilizing improved groupings of data points based on scores of the groupings.

2. Related art

As the collection and storage data has increased, there is an increased need to analyze and make sense of large amounts of data. Examples of large datasets may be found in financial services companies, oil expiration, biotech, and academia. Unfortunately, previous methods of analysis of large multidimensional datasets tend to be insufficient (if possible at all) to identify important relationships and may be computationally inefficient.

In order to process large datasets, some previous methods of analysis use clustering. Clustering often breaks important relationships and is often too blunt an instrument to assist in the identification of important relationships in the data. Similarly, previous methods of linear regression, projection pursuit, principal component analysis, and multidimensional scaling often do not reveal important relationships. Further, existing linear algebraic and analytic methods are too sensitive to large scale distances and, as a result, lose detail.

Even if the data is analyzed, sophisticated experts are often necessary to interpret and understand the output of previous methods. Although some previous methods allow graphs that depict some relationships in the data, the graphs are not interactive and require considerable time for a team of such experts to understand the relationships. Further, the output of previous methods does not allow for exploratory data analysis where the analysis can be quickly modified to discover new relationships. Rather, previous methods require the formulation of a hypothesis before testing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION(S)

An example method comprises receiving data points, selecting a first subset of the data points to generate an initial set of landmarks, each data point of the first subset defining a landmark point, for each non-landmark data point: calculating first data point distances between a respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks, identifying a first shortest data point distance from among the first data point distances between the respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks, and storing the first shortest data point distance as a first landmark distance for the respective non-landmark data point, identifying a non-landmark data point with a longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points, and adding the non-landmark data point associated with the longest first landmark distance as a first landmark point to the initial set of landmarks to generate an expanded set of landmark points.

The method may further comprise storing a set of longest landmark distances for the non-landmark data points of the expanded set of landmark points, calculating second data point distances between the non-landmark data points associated with the set of longest landmark distances and each landmark point of the expanded set of landmark points, the expanded set of landmark points including the first landmark point, and adding the non-landmark data point associated with the longest second landmark distance to the expanded set of landmark points, thereby categorizing the non-landmark data point as a new landmark point. In various embodiments, the method may further comprise determining if the expanded set of landmark points includes a predetermined number of landmark points, if the expanded set of landmark points includes less than the predetermined number of landmark points: storing another set of longest second landmark distances for the non-landmark data points of the expanded set of landmark points, calculating another data point distances between the non-landmark data points associated with the set of longest second landmark distances and each landmark point of the first and second sets of landmark points, the first set and second set of landmark points including the first and second landmark point, and adding the non-landmark data point associated with the longest second landmark distance as a another landmark point to the set of landmark points, and if the expanded set of landmark points includes less than the predetermined number of landmark points, generate a visualization of nodes and edges using the expanded set of landmark points instead of the received data points.

The expanded set of landmark points may be an approximation of the received data points. The method may comprise, before the first subset of the data points are selected to generate an initial set of landmarks: accessing a data structure containing information, generating a mathematical reference space, and mapping a similarity space using the information from the data structure into the mathematical reference space to generate the data points, wherein each data point is defined by the mapping into the reference space. In some embodiments, the method may further comprise generating a cover for the landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points in the mathematical reference space based on a resolution, clustering the landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points into subsets using a metric to generate subsets of the landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points to determine each individual node of a plurality of nodes, each of the nodes of the plurality of nodes comprising members representative of at least one subset of the landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points, and generating an interactive visualization comprising nodes and a plurality of edges wherein each of the edges of the plurality of edges connects nodes with shared members.

In some embodiments, the method may further comprise generating a cover for the data points in the mathematical reference space based on a resolution, clustering the data points into subsets using a metric to generate subsets of the data points to determine each individual node of a plurality of nodes, each of the nodes of the plurality of nodes comprising members representative of at least one subset of the data points, each node defining a data point, and generating an interactive visualization comprising nodes of landmark points of the expanded set of landmark points and a plurality of edges wherein each of the edges of the plurality of edges connects nodes with shared members.

The selection of the first subset of the data point may be random. Receiving data points may comprise storing the data points in a memory system and the initial set of landmarks is stored in a non-transitory storage system. Identifying the non-landmark data point with the longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points may comprise identifying a predetermined number of non-landmark data points, each of the predetermined number having longer first landmark distances in comparison with the other first landmark distances of the other non-landmark data points. Adding the non-landmark data point associated with the longest first landmark distance as a first landmark point to the initial set of landmarks may comprise adding the predetermined number of non-landmark data points associated with the longer first landmark distances to the initial set of landmarks.

An example non-transitory computer readable medium may comprise instructions executable by a processor to perform a method. The method may comprise: receiving data points, selecting a first subset of the data points to generate an initial set of landmarks, each data point of the first subset defining a landmark point, for each non-landmark data point: calculating first data point distances between a respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks, identifying a first shortest data point distance from among the first data point distances between the respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks, and storing the first shortest data point distance as a first landmark distance for the respective non-landmark data point, identifying a non-landmark data point with a longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points, and adding the non-landmark data point associated with the longest first landmark distance as a first landmark point to the initial set of landmarks to generate an expanded set of landmark points.

An example system comprises an input module, a random landmark selection module, a distance calculation module, a landmark distance comparison module, and a landmark assignment module. The input module may be configured to receive data points. The random landmark selection module may be configured to select a first subset of the data points to generate an initial set of landmarks, each data point of the first subset defining a landmark point. The distance calculation module may be configured to, for each non-landmark data point: calculate first data point distances between a respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks, identify a first shortest data point distance from among the first data point distances between the respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks, and store the first shortest data point distance as a first landmark distance for the respective non-landmark data point. The landmark distance comparison module may be configured to identify a non-landmark data point with a longest first landmark distance in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points. The landmark assignment module may be configured to add the non-landmark data point associated with the longest first landmark distance as a first landmark point to the initial set of landmarks to generate an expanded set of landmark points.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is an example graph representing data that appears to be divided into three disconnected groups.

FIG. 1B is an example graph representing data set obtained from a Lotka-Volterra equation modeling the populations of predators and prey over time.

FIG. 1C is an example graph of data sets whereby the data does not break up into disconnected groups, but instead has a structure in which there are lines (or flares) emanating from a central group.

FIG. 2 is an example environment in which embodiments may be practiced.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an example analysis server.

FIG. 4 is a flow chart depicting an example method of dataset analysis and visualization in some embodiments.

FIG. 5 is an example ID field selection interface window in some embodiments.

FIG. 6a is an example data field selection interface window in some embodiments.

FIG. 6b is an example metric and filter selection interface window in some embodiments.

FIG. 7 is an example filter parameter interface window in some embodiments.

FIG. 8 is a flowchart for data analysis and generating a visualization in some embodiments.

FIG. 9 is an example interactive visualization in some embodiments.

FIG. 10 is an example interactive visualization displaying an explain information window in some embodiments.

FIG. 11 is a flowchart of functionality of the interactive visualization in some embodiments.

FIG. 12 is a flowchart of for generating a cancer map visualization utilizing biological data of a plurality of patients in some embodiments.

FIG. 13 is an example data structure including biological data for a number of patients that may be used to generate the cancer map visualization in some embodiments.

FIG. 14 is an example visualization displaying the cancer map in some embodiments.

FIG. 15 is a flowchart of for positioning new patient data relative to the cancer map visualization in some embodiments.

FIG. 16 is an example visualization displaying the cancer map including positions for three new cancer patients in some embodiments.

FIG. 17 is a flowchart of utilization the visualization and positioning of new patient data in some embodiments

FIG. 18 is an example digital device in some embodiments.

FIG. 19 shows an example landmark module configured to identify landmark points that approximate or represent a larger collection of data points in accordance with various embodiments.

FIG. 20 is a flowchart for generating a set of landmark points in some embodiments.

FIG. 21A shows example metric space containing data in accordance with various embodiments.

FIG. 21B shows subset composed of individual data points in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 21C shows example random landmarks R1, R2, R3, and R4 that have been randomly selected as initial landmarks in the subset identified in FIG. 21A.

FIG. 21D shows lines corresponding to data point distances to each landmark for three points (P1, P2, and P3) in the subset identified in FIG. 21A.

FIG. 22A shows example data point distances between point P1 and random landmarks R1, R2, R3, and R4.

FIG. 22B shows example distances between point P2 and random landmarks R1, R2, R3, and R4.

FIG. 22C shows an example table wherein distances for each point are stored.

FIG. 23A shows example landmark distances for points P1, P2, and P3 to landmark R1 which can be used to demonstrate the selection of additional landmark points.

FIG. 23B shows example shortest distances from each non-landmark point to each landmark point.

FIG. 23C shows point P2 as new MM landmark point L1 in this example.

FIG. 23D shows subset with L1 as a new landmark where the distances between various points have been calculated.

FIG. 24A shows an example wherein data in X does not fit into local memory (e.g., Random Access Memory (RAM)) and is, therefore, read off of long term storage.

FIG. 24B shows an example wherein data point sets are stored in local memory instead of the landmark set in accordance with various embodiments.

FIG. 25A shows subset with distances shown for points P1, P2, P3, and P4 to their respective closest random landmark (R1, R2, R3, R4).

FIG. 25B shows example shortest distances from each non-landmark point to each landmark point.

FIG. 25C shows points P2, P3, and P4 as landmarks L1, L2, and L3 in this example

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Some embodiments described herein may be a part of the subject of Topological Data Analysis (TDA). TDA is an area of research which has produced methods for studying point cloud data sets from a geometric point of view. Other data analysis techniques use “approximation by models” of various types. Examples of other data analysis techniques include regression methods which model data as a graph of a function in one or more variables. Unfortunately, certain qualitative properties (which one can readily observe when the data is two-dimensional) may be of a great deal of importance for understanding, and these features may not be readily represented within such models.

FIG. 1A is an example graph representing data that appears to be divided into three disconnected groups. In this example, the data for this graph may be associated with various physical characteristics related to different population groups or biomedical data related to different forms of a disease. Seeing that the data breaks into groups in this fashion can give insight into the data, once one understands what characterizes the groups.

FIG. 1B is an example graph representing data set obtained from a Lotka-Volterra equation modeling the populations of predators and prey over time. From FIG. 1B, one observation about this data is that it is arranged in a loop. The loop is not exactly circular, but it is topologically a circle. The exact form of the equations, while interesting, may not be of as much importance as this qualitative observation which reflects the fact that the underlying phenomenon is recurrent or periodic. When looking for periodic or recurrent phenomena, methods may be developed which can detect the presence of loops without defining explicit models. For example, periodicity may be detectable without having to first develop a fully accurate model of the dynamics.

FIG. 1C is an example graph of data sets whereby the data does not break up into disconnected groups, but instead has a structure in which there are lines (or flares) emanating from a central group. In this case, the data also suggests the presence of three distinct groups, but the connectedness of the data does not reflect this. This particular data that is the basis for the example graph in FIG. 1C arises from a study of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).

In each of the examples above, aspects of the shape of the data are relevant in reflecting information about the data. Connectedness (the simplest property of shape) reflects the presence of a discrete classification of the data into disparate groups. The presence of loops, another simple aspect of shape, often reflect periodic or recurrent behavior. Finally, in the third example, the shape containing flares suggests a classification of the data descriptive of ways in which phenomena can deviate from the norm, which would typically be represented by the central core. These examples support the idea that the shape of data (suitably defined) is an important aspect of its structure, and that it is therefore important to develop methods for analyzing and understanding its shape. The part of mathematics which concerns itself with the study of shape is called topology, and topological data analysis attempts to adapt methods for studying shape which have been developed in pure mathematics to the study of the shape of data, suitably defined.

One question is how notions of geometry or shape are translated into information about point clouds, which are, after all, finite sets? What we mean by shape or geometry can come from a dissimilarity function or metric (e.g., a non-negative, symmetric, real-valued function d on the set of pairs of points in the data set which may also satisfy the triangle inequality, and d(x; y)=0 if and only if x=y). Such functions exist in profusion for many data sets. For example, when data comes in the form of a numerical matrix, where the rows correspond to the data points and the columns are the fields describing the data, the n-dimensional Euclidean distance function is natural when there are n fields. Similarly, in this example, there are Pearson correlation distances, cosine distances, and other choices.

When the data is not Euclidean, for example if one is considering genomic sequences, various notions of distance may be defined using measures of similarity based on Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) type similarity scores. Further, a measure of similarity can come in non-numeric forms, such as social networks of friends or similarities of hobbies, buying patterns, tweeting, and/or professional interests. In any of these ways the notion of shape may be formulated via the establishment of a useful notion of similarity of data points.

One of the advantages of TDA is that TDA may depend on nothing more than such a notion, which is a very primitive or low-level model. TDA may rely on many fewer assumptions than standard linear or algebraic models, for example. Further, the methodology may provide new ways of visualizing and compressing data sets, which facilitate understanding and monitoring data. The methodology may enable study of interrelationships among disparate data sets and/or multiscale/multiresolution study of data sets. Moreover, the methodology may enable interactivity in the analysis of data, using point and click methods.

In some embodiments, TDA may be a very useful complement to more traditional methods, such as Principal Component Analysis (PCA), multidimensional scaling, and hierarchical clustering. These existing methods are often quite useful, but suffer from significant limitations. PCA, for example, is an essentially linear procedure and there are therefore limits to its utility in highly non-linear situations. Multidimensional scaling is a method which is not intrinsically linear, but can in many situations wash out detail, since it may overweight large distances. In addition, when metrics do not satisfy an intrinsic flatness condition, it may have difficulty in faithfully representing the data. Hierarchical clustering does exhibit multiscale behavior, but represents data only as disjoint clusters, rather than retaining any of the geometry of the data set. In all four cases, these limitations matter for many varied kinds of data.

We now summarize example properties of an example construction, in some embodiments, which may be used for representing the shape of data sets in a useful, understandable fashion as a finite graph:

    • The input may be a collection of data points equipped in some way with a distance or dissimilarity function, or other description. This can be given implicitly when the data is in the form of a matrix, or explicitly as a matrix of distances or even the generating edges of a mathematical network.
    • One construction may also use one or more lens functions (i.e. real valued functions on the data). Lens function(s) may depend directly on the metric. For example, lens function(s) might be the result of a density estimator or a measure of centrality or data depth. Lens function(s) may, in some embodiments, depend on a particular representation of the data, as when one uses the first one or two coordinates of a principal component or multidimensional scaling analysis. In some embodiments, the lens function(s) may be columns which expert knowledge identifies as being intrinsically interesting, as in cholesterol levels and BMI in a study of heart disease.
    • In some embodiments, the construction may depend on a choice of two or more processing parameters, resolution, and gain. Increase in resolution typically results in more nodes and an increase in the gain increases the number of edges in a visualization and/or graph in a reference space as further described herein.
    • The output may be, for example, a visualization (e.g., a display of connected nodes or “network”) or simplicial complex. One specific combinatorial formulation in one embodiment may be that the vertices form a finite set, and then the additional structure may be a collection of edges (unordered pairs of vertices) which are pictured as connections in this network.

In various embodiments, a system for handling, analyzing, and visualizing data using drag and drop methods as opposed to text based methods is described herein. Philosophically, data analytic tools are not necessarily regarded as “solvers,” but rather as tools for interacting with data. For example, data analysis may consist of several iterations of a process in which computational tools point to regions of interest in a data set. The data set may then be examined by people with domain expertise concerning the data, and the data set may then be subjected to further computational analysis. In some embodiments, methods described herein provide for going back and forth between mathematical constructs, including interactive visualizations (e.g., graphs), on the one hand and data on the other.

In one example of data analysis in some embodiments described herein, an exemplary clustering tool is discussed which may be more powerful than existing technology, in that one can find structure within clusters and study how clusters change over a period of time or over a change of scale or resolution.

An example interactive visualization tool (e.g., a visualization module which is further described herein) may produce combinatorial output in the form of a graph which can be readily visualized. In some embodiments, the example interactive visualization tool may be less sensitive to changes in notions of distance than current methods, such as multidimensional scaling.

Some embodiments described herein permit manipulation of the data from a visualization. For example, portions of the data which are deemed to be interesting from the visualization can be selected and converted into database objects, which can then be further analyzed. Some embodiments described herein permit the location of data points of interest within the visualization, so that the connection between a given visualization and the information the visualization represents may be readily understood.

FIG. 2 is an example environment 200 in which embodiments may be practiced. In various embodiments, data analysis and interactive visualization may be performed locally (e.g., with software and/or hardware on a local digital device), across a network (e.g., via cloud computing), or a combination of both. In many of these embodiments, a data structure is accessed to obtain the data for the analysis, the analysis is performed based on properties and parameters selected by a user, and an interactive visualization is generated and displayed. There are many advantages between performing all or some activities locally and many advantages of performing all or some activities over a network.

Environment 200 comprises user devices 202a-202n, a communication network 204, data storage server 206, and analysis server 208. Environment 200 depicts an embodiment wherein functions are performed across a network. In this example, the user(s) may take advantage of cloud computing by storing data in a data storage server 206 over a communication network 204. The analysis server 208 may perform analysis and generation of an interactive visualization.

User devices 202a-202n may be any digital devices. A digital device is any device that includes memory and a processor. Digital devices are further described in FIG. 18. The user devices 202a-202n may be any kind of digital device that may be used to access, analyze and/or view data including, but not limited to a desktop computer, laptop, notebook, or other computing device.

In various embodiments, a user, such as a data analyst, may generate and/or receive a database or other data structure with the user device 202a to be saved to the data storage server 206. The user device 202a may communicate with the analysis server 208 via the communication network 204 to perform analysis, examination, and visualization of data within the database.

The user device 202a may comprise any number of client programs. One or more of the client programs may interact with one or more applications on the analysis server 208. In other embodiments, the user device 202a may communicate with the analysis server 208 using a browser or other standard program. In various embodiments, the user device 202a communicates with the analysis server 208 via a virtual private network. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that that communication between the user device 202a, the data storage server 206, and/or the analysis server 208 may be encrypted or otherwise secured.

The communication network 204 may be any network that allows digital devices to communicate. The communication network 204 may be the Internet and/or include LAN and WANs. The communication network 204 may support wireless and/or wired communication.

The data storage server 206 is a digital device that is configured to store data. In various embodiments, the data storage server 206 stores databases and/or other data structures. The data storage server 206 may be a single server or a combination of servers. In one example the data storage server 206 may be a secure server wherein a user may store data over a secured connection (e.g., via https). The data may be encrypted and backed-up. In some embodiments, the data storage server 206 is operated by a third-party such as Amazon's S3 service.

The database or other data structure may comprise large high-dimensional datasets. These datasets are traditionally very difficult to analyze and, as a result, relationships within the data may not be identifiable using previous methods. Further, previous methods may be computationally inefficient.

The analysis server 208 may include any number of digital devices configured to analyze data (e.g., the data in the stored database and/or other dataset received and/or generated by the user device 202a). Although only one digital device is depicted in FIG. 2 corresponding to the analysis server 208, it will be appreciated that any number of functions of the analysis server 208 may be performed by any number of digital devices.

In various embodiments, the analysis server 208 may perform many functions to interpret, examine, analyze, and display data and/or relationships within data. In some embodiments, the analysis server 208 performs, at least in part, topological analysis of large datasets applying metrics, filters, and resolution parameters chosen by the user. The analysis is further discussed regarding FIG. 8 herein.

The analysis server 208 may generate graphs in memory, visualized graphs, and/or an interactive visualization of the output of the analysis. The interactive visualization allows the user to observe and explore relationships in the data. In various embodiments, the interactive visualization allows the user to select nodes comprising data that has been clustered. The user may then access the underlying data, perform further analysis (e.g., statistical analysis) on the underlying data, and manually reorient the graph(s) (e.g., structures of nodes and edges described herein) within the interactive visualization. The analysis server 208 may also allow for the user to interact with the data, see the graphic result. The interactive visualization is further discussed in FIGS. 9-11.

The graphs in memory and/or visualized graphs may also include nodes and/or edges as described herein. Graphs that are generated in memory may not be depicted to a user but rather may be in memory of a digital device. Visualized graphs are rendered graphs that may be depicted to the user (e.g., using user device 202a).

In some embodiments, the analysis server 208 interacts with the user device(s) 202a-202n over a private and/or secure communication network. The user device 202a may include a client program that allows the user to interact with the data storage server 206, the analysis server 208, another user device (e.g., user device 202n), a database, and/or an analysis application executed on the analysis server 208.

It will be appreciated that all or part of the data analysis may occur at the user device 202a. Further, all or part of the interaction with the visualization (e.g., graphic) may be performed on the user device 202a. Alternately, all or part of the data analysis may occur on any number of digital devices including, for example, on the analysis server 208.

Although two user devices 202a and 202n are depicted, those skilled in the art will appreciate that there may be any number of user devices in any location (e.g., remote from each other). Similarly, there may be any number of communication networks, data storage servers, and analysis servers.

Cloud computing may allow for greater access to large datasets (e.g., via a commercial storage service) over a faster connection. Further, those skilled in the art will appreciate that services and computing resources offered to the user(s) may be scalable.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an example analysis server 208. In some embodiments, the analysis server 208 comprises a processor 302, input/output (I/O) interface 304, a communication network interface 306, a memory system 308, a storage system 310, and a processing module 312. The processor 302 may comprise any processor or combination of processors with one or more cores.

The input/output (I/O) interface 304 may comprise interfaces for various I/O devices such as, for example, a keyboard, mouse, and display device. The example communication network interface 306 is configured to allow the analysis server 208 to communication with the communication network 204 (see FIG. 2). The communication network interface 306 may support communication over an Ethernet connection, a serial connection, a parallel connection, and/or an ATA connection. The communication network interface 306 may also support wireless communication (e.g., 802.11 a/b/g/n, WiMax, LTE, WiFi). It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the communication network interface 306 can support many wired and wireless standards.

The memory system 308 may be any kind of memory including RAM, ROM, or flash, cache, virtual memory, etc. In various embodiments, working data is stored within the memory system 308. The data within the memory system 308 may be cleared or ultimately transferred to the storage system 310.

The storage system 310 includes any storage configured to retrieve and store data. Some examples of the storage system 310 include flash drives, hard drives, optical drives, and/or magnetic tape. Each of the memory system 308 and the storage system 310 comprises a non-transitory computer-readable medium, which stores instructions (e.g., software programs) executable by processor 302.

The storage system 310 comprises a plurality of modules utilized by embodiments of discussed herein. A module may be hardware, software (e.g., including instructions executable by a processor), or a combination of both. In one embodiment, the storage system 310 includes a processing module 312. The processing module 312 may include memory and/or hardware and includes an input module 314, a filter module 316, a resolution module 318, an analysis module 320, a visualization engine 322, and database storage 324. Alternative embodiments of the analysis server 208 and/or the storage system 310 may comprise more, less, or functionally equivalent components and modules.

The input module 314 may be configured to receive commands and preferences from the user device 202a. In various examples, the input module 314 receives selections from the user which will be used to perform the analysis. The output of the analysis may be an interactive visualization.

The input module 314 may provide the user a variety of interface windows allowing the user to select and access a database, choose fields associated with the database, choose a metric, choose one or more filters, and identify resolution parameters for the analysis. In one example, the input module 314 receives a database identifier and accesses a large multidimensional database. The input module 314 may scan the database and provide the user with an interface window allowing the user to identify an ID field. An ID field is an identifier for each data point. In one example, the identifier is unique. The same column name may be present in the table from which filters are selected. After the ID field is selected, the input module 314 may then provide the user with another interface window to allow the user to choose one or more data fields from a table of the database.

Although interactive windows may be described herein, those skilled in the art will appreciate that any window, graphical user interface, and/or command line may be used to receive or prompt a user or user device 202a for information.

The filter module 316 may subsequently provide the user with an interface window to allow the user to select a metric to be used in analysis of the data within the chosen data fields. The filter module 316 may also allow the user to select and/or define one or more filters.

The resolution module 318 may allow the user to select a resolution, including filter parameters. In one example, the user enters a number of intervals and a percentage overlap for a filter.

The analysis module 320 may perform data analysis based on the database and the information provided by the user. In various embodiments, the analysis module 320 performs an algebraic topological analysis to identify structures and relationships within data and clusters of data. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the analysis module 320 may use parallel algorithms or use generalizations of various statistical techniques (e.g., generalizing the bootstrap to zig-zag methods) to increase the size of data sets that can be processed. The analysis is further discussed herein (e.g., see discussion regarding FIG. 8). It will be appreciated that the analysis module 320 is not limited to algebraic topological analysis but may perform any analysis.

The visualization engine 322 generates an interactive visualization based on the output from the analysis module 320. The interactive visualization allows the user to see all or part of the analysis graphically. The interactive visualization also allows the user to interact with the visualization. For example, the user may select portions of a graph from within the visualization to see and/or interact with the underlying data and/or underlying analysis. The user may then change the parameters of the analysis (e.g., change the metric, filter(s), or resolution(s)) which allows the user to visually identify relationships in the data that may be otherwise undetectable using prior means. The interactive visualization is further described herein (e.g., see discussion regarding FIGS. 9-11).

The database storage 324 is configured to store all or part of the database that is being accessed. In some embodiments, the database storage 324 may store saved portions of the database. Further, the database storage 324 may be used to store user preferences, parameters, and analysis output thereby allowing the user to perform many different functions on the database without losing previous work.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that that all or part of the processing module 312 may be at the user device 202a or the database storage server 206. In some embodiments, all or some of the functionality of the processing module 312 may be performed by the user device 202a.

In various embodiments, systems and methods discussed herein may be implemented with one or more digital devices. In some examples, some embodiments discussed herein may be implemented by a computer program (instructions) executed by a processor. The computer program may provide a graphical user interface. Although such a computer program is discussed, those skilled in the art will appreciate that embodiments may be performed using any of the following, either alone or in combination, including, but not limited to, a computer program, multiple computer programs, firmware, and/or hardware.

A module and/or engine may include any processor or combination of processors. In some examples, a module and/or engine may include or be a part of a processor, digital signal processor (DSP), application specific integrated circuit (ASIC), an integrated circuit, and/or the like. In various embodiments, the module and/or engine may be software or firmware.

FIG. 4 is a flow chart 400 depicting an example method of dataset analysis and visualization in some embodiments. In step 402, the input module 314 accesses a database. The database may be any data structure containing data (e.g., a very large dataset of multidimensional data). In some embodiments, the database may be a relational database. In some examples, the relational database may be used with MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Aster nCluster, Teradata, and/or Vertica. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the database may not be a relational database.

In some embodiments, the input module 314 receives a database identifier and a location of the database (e.g., the data storage server 206) from the user device 202a (see FIG. 2). The input module 314 may then access the identified database. In various embodiments, the input module 314 may read data from many different sources, including, but not limited to MS Excel files, text files (e.g., delimited or CSV), Matlab .mat format, or any other file.

In some embodiments, the input module 314 receives an IP address or hostname of a server hosting the database, a username, password, and the database identifier. This information (herein referred to as “connection information”) may be cached for later use. It will be appreciated that the database may be locally accessed and that all, some, or none of the connection information may be required. In one example, the user device 202a may have full access to the database stored locally on the user device 202a so the IP address is unnecessary. In another example, the user device 202a may already have loaded the database and the input module 314 merely begins by accessing the loaded database.

In various embodiments, the identified database stores data within tables. A table may have a “column specification” which stores the names of the columns and their data types. A “row” in a table, may be a tuple with one entry for each column of the correct type. In one example, a table to store employee records might have a column specification such as:

    • employee_id primary key int (this may store the employee's ID as an integer, and uniquely identifies a row)
    • age int
    • gender char(1) (gender of the employee may be a single character either M or F)
    • salary double (salary of an employee may be a floating point number)
    • name varchar (name of the employee may be a variable-length string)

      In this example, each employee corresponds to a row in this table. Further, the tables in this example relational database are organized into logical units called databases. An analogy to file systems is that databases can be thought of as folders and files as tables. Access to databases may be controlled by the database administrator by assigning a username/password pair to authenticate users.

Once the database is accessed, the input module 314 may allow the user to access a previously stored analysis or to begin a new analysis. If the user begins a new analysis, the input module 314 may provide the user device 202a with an interface window allowing the user to identify a table from within the database. In one example, the input module 314 provides a list of available tables from the identified database.

In step 404, the input module 314 receives a table identifier identifying a table from within the database. The input module 314 may then provide the user with a list of available ID fields from the table identifier. In step 406, the input module 314 receives the ID field identifier from the user and/or user device 202a. The ID field is, in some embodiments, the primary key.

Having selected the primary key, the input module 314 may generate a new interface window to allow the user to select data fields for analysis. In step 408, the input module 314 receives data field identifiers from the user device 202a. The data within the data fields may be later analyzed by the analysis module 320.

In step 408, the filter module 316 selects one or more filters. In some embodiments, the filter module 316 and/or the input module 314 generates an interface window allowing the user of the user device 202a options for a variety of different metrics and filter preferences. The interface window may be a drop down menu identifying a variety of distance metrics to be used in the analysis.

In some embodiments, the user selects and/or provides filter identifier(s) to the filter module 316. The role of the filters in the analysis is also further described herein. The filters, for example, may be user defined, geometric, or based on data which has been pre-processed. In some embodiments, the data based filters are numerical arrays which can assign a set of real numbers to each row in the table or each point in the data generally.

A variety of geometric filters may be available for the user to choose. Geometric filters may include, but are not limited to:

    • Density
    • L1 Eccentricity
    • L-infinity Eccentricity
    • Witness based Density
    • Witness based Eccentricity
    • Eccentricity as distance from a fixed point
    • Approximate Kurtosis of the Eccentricity

In step 410, the filter module 316 identifies a metric. Metric options may include, but are not limited to, Euclidean, DB Metric, variance normalized Euclidean, and total normalized Euclidean. The metric and the analysis are further described herein.

In step 412, the resolution module 318 defines the resolution to be used with a filter in the analysis. The resolution may comprise a number of intervals and an overlap parameter. In various embodiments, the resolution module 318 allows the user to adjust the number of intervals and overlap parameter (e.g., percentage overlap) for one or more filters.

In step 414, the analysis module 320 processes data of selected fields based on the metric, filter(s), and resolution(s) to generate the visualization. This process is further discussed herein (e.g., see discussion regarding FIG. 8).

In step 416, the visualization engine 322 displays the interactive visualization. In various embodiments, the visualization may be rendered in two or three dimensional space. The visualization engine 322 may use an optimization algorithm for an objective function which is correlated with good visualization (e.g., the energy of the embedding). The visualization may show a collection of nodes corresponding to each of the partial clusters in the analysis output and edges connecting them as specified by the output. The interactive visualization is further discussed herein (e.g., see discussion regarding FIGS. 9-11).

Although many examples discuss the input module 314 as providing interface windows, it will be appreciated that all or some of the interface may be provided by a client on the user device 202a. Further, in some embodiments, the user device 202a may be running all or some of the processing module 312.

FIGS. 5-7 depict various interface windows to allow the user to make selections, enter information (e.g., fields, metrics, and filters), provide parameters (e.g., resolution), and provide data (e.g., identify the database) to be used with analysis. It will be appreciated that any graphical user interface or command line may be used to make selections, enter information, provide parameters, and provide data.

FIG. 5 is an exemplary ID field selection interface window 500 in some embodiments. The ID field selection interface window 500 allows the user to identify an ID field. The ID field selection interface window 500 comprises a table search field 502, a table list 504, and a fields selection window 506.

In various embodiments, the input module 314 identifies and accesses a database from the database storage 324, user device 202a, or the data storage server 206. The input module 314 may then generate the ID field selection interface window 500 and provide a list of available tables of the selected database in the table list 504. The user may click on a table or search for a table by entering a search query (e.g., a keyword) in the table search field 502. Once a table is identified (e.g., clicked on by the user), the fields selection window 506 may provide a list of available fields in the selected table. The user may then choose a field from the fields selection window 506 to be the ID field. In some embodiments, any number of fields may be chosen to be the ID field(s).

FIG. 6a is an example data field selection interface window 600a in some embodiments. The data field selection interface window 600a allows the user to identify data fields. The data field selection interface window 600a comprises a table search field 502, a table list 504, a fields selection window 602, and a selected window 604.

In various embodiments, after selection of the ID field, the input module 314 provides a list of available tables of the selected database in the table list 504. The user may click on a table or search for a table by entering a search query (e.g., a keyword) in the table search field 502. Once a table is identified (e.g., clicked on by the user), the fields selection window 506 may provide a list of available fields in the selected table. The user may then choose any number of fields from the fields selection window 602 to be data fields. The selected data fields may appear in the selected window 604. The user may also deselect fields that appear in the selected window 604.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the table selected by the user in the table list 504 may be the same table selected with regard to FIG. 5. In some embodiments, however, the user may select a different table. Further, the user may, in various embodiments, select fields from a variety of different tables.

FIG. 6b is an example metric and filter selection interface window 600b in some embodiments. The metric and filter selection interface window 600b allows the user to identify a metric, add filter(s), and adjust filter parameters. The metric and filter selection interface window 600b comprises a metric pull down menu 606, an add filter from database button 608, and an add geometric filter button 610.

In various embodiments, the user may click on the metric pull down menu 606 to view a variety of metric options. Various metric options are described herein. In some embodiments, the user may define a metric. The user defined metric may then be used with the analysis.

In one example, finite metric space data may be constructed from a data repository (i.e., database, spreadsheet, or Matlab file). This may mean selecting a collection of fields whose entries will specify the metric using the standard Euclidean metric for these fields, when they are floating point or integer variables. Other notions of distance, such as graph distance between collections of points, may be supported.

The analysis module 320 may perform analysis using the metric as a part of a distance function. The distance function can be expressed by a formula, a distance matrix, or other routine which computes it. The user may add a filter from a database by clicking on the add filter from database button 608. The metric space may arise from a relational database, a Matlab file, an Excel spreadsheet, or other methods for storing and manipulating data. The metric and filter selection interface window 600b may allow the user to browse for other filters to use in the analysis. The analysis and metric function are further described herein (e.g., see discussion regarding FIG. 8).

The user may also add a geometric filter 610 by clicking on the add geometric filter button 610. In various embodiments, the metric and filter selection interface window 600b may provide a list of geometric filters from which the user may choose.

FIG. 7 is an example filter parameter interface window 700 in some embodiments. The filter parameter interface window 700 allows the user to determine a resolution for one or more selected filters (e.g., filters selected in the metric and filter selection interface window 600). The filter parameter interface window 700 comprises a filter name menu 702, an interval field 704, an overlap bar 706, and a done button 708.

The filter parameter interface window 700 allows the user to select a filter from the filter name menu 702. In some embodiments, the filter name menu 702 is a drop down box indicating all filters selected by the user in the metric and filter selection interface window 600. Once a filter is chosen, the name of the filter may appear in the filter name menu 702. The user may then change the intervals and overlap for one, some, or all selected filters.

The interval field 704 allows the user to define a number of intervals for the filter identified in the filter name menu 702. The user may enter a number of intervals or scroll up or down to get to a desired number of intervals. Any number of intervals may be selected by the user. The function of the intervals is further discussed herein (e.g., see discussion regarding FIG. 8).

The overlap bar 706 allows the user to define the degree of overlap of the intervals for the filter identified in the filter name menu 702. In one example, the overlap bar 706 includes a slider that allows the user to define the percentage overlap for the interval to be used with the identified filter. Any percentage overlap may be set by the user.

Once the intervals and overlap are defined for the desired filters, the user may click the done button. The user may then go back to the metric and filter selection interface window 600 and see a new option to run the analysis. In some embodiments, the option to run the analysis may be available in the filter parameter interface window 700. Once the analysis is complete, the result may appear in an interactive visualization further described herein (e.g., see discussion regarding FIGS. 9-11).

It will be appreciated that interface windows in FIGS. 4-7 are examples. The example interface windows are not limited to the functional objects (e.g., buttons, pull down menus, scroll fields, and search fields) shown. Any number of different functional objects may be used. Further, as described herein, any other interface, command line, or graphical user interface may be used.

FIG. 8 is a flowchart 800 for data analysis and generating an interactive visualization in some embodiments. In various embodiments, the processing on data and user-specified options is motivated by techniques from topology and, in some embodiments, algebraic topology. These techniques may be robust and general. In one example, these techniques apply to almost any kind of data for which some qualitative idea of “closeness” or “similarity” exists. The techniques discussed herein may be robust because the results may be relatively insensitive to noise in the data and even to errors in the specific details of the qualitative measure of similarity, which, in some embodiments, may be generally refer to as “the distance function” or “metric.” It will be appreciated that while the description of the algorithms below may seem general, the implementation of techniques described herein may apply to any level of generality.

In step 802, the input module 314 receives data S. In one example, a user identifies a data structure and then identifies ID and data fields. Data S may be based on the information within the ID and data fields. In various embodiments, data S is treated as being processed as a finite “similarity space,” where data S has a real-valued function d defined on pairs of points s and t in S, such that:

d(s, s)=0

d(s, t)=d(t, s)

d(s, t)>=0

These conditions may be similar to requirements for a finite metric space, but the conditions may be weaker. In various examples, the function is a metric.

It will be appreciated that data S may be a finite metric space, or a generalization thereof, such as a graph or weighted graph. In some embodiments, data S be specified by a formula, an algorithm, or by a distance matrix which specifies explicitly every pairwise distance.

In step 804, the input module 314 generates reference space R. In one example, reference space R may be a well-known metric space (e.g., such as the real line). The reference space R may be defined by the user. In step 806, the analysis module 320 generates a map ref( ) from S into R. The map ref( ) from S into R may be called the “reference map.”

In one example, a reference of map from S is to a reference metric space R. R may be Euclidean space of some dimension, but it may also be the circle, torus, a tree, or other metric space. The map can be described by one or more filters (i.e., real valued functions on S). These filters can be defined by geometric invariants, such as the output of a density estimator, a notion of data depth, or functions specified by the origin of S as arising from a data set.

In step 808, the resolution module 318 generates a cover of R based on the resolution received from the user (e.g., filter(s), intervals, and overlap—see discussion regarding FIG. 7 for example). The cover of R may be a finite collection of open sets (in the metric of R) such that every point in R lies in at least one of these sets. In various examples, R is k-dimensional Euclidean space, where k is the number of filter functions. More precisely in this example, R is a box in k-dimensional Euclidean space given by the product of the intervals [min_k, max_k], where min_k is the minimum value of the k-th filter function on S, and max_k is the maximum value.

For example, suppose there are 2 filter functions, F1 and F2, and that F1's values range from −1 to +1, and F2's values range from 0 to 5. Then the reference space is the rectangle in the x/y plane with corners (−1,0), (1,0), (−1, 5), (1, 5), as every point s of S will give rise to a pair (F1(s), F2(s)) that lies within that rectangle.

In various embodiments, the cover of R is given by taking products of intervals of the covers of [min_k,max_k] for each of the k filters. In one example, if the user requests 2 intervals and a 50% overlap for F1, the cover of the interval [−1,+1] will be the two intervals (−1.5, 0.5), (−0.5, 1.5). If the user requests 5 intervals and a 30% overlap for F2, then that cover of [0, 5] will be (−0.3, 1.3), (0.7, 2.3), (1.7, 3.3), (2.7, 4.3), (3.7, 5.3). These intervals may give rise to a cover of the 2-dimensional box by taking all possible pairs of intervals where the first of the pair is chosen from the cover for F1 and the second from the cover for F2. This may give rise to 2*5, or 10, open boxes that covered the 2-dimensional reference space. However, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the intervals may not be uniform, or that the covers of a k-dimensional box may not be constructed by products of intervals. In some embodiments, there are many other choices of intervals. Further, in various embodiments, a wide range of covers and/or more general reference spaces may be used.

In one example, given a cover, C1, . . . , Cm, of R, the reference map is used to assign a set of indices to each point in S, which are the indices of the Cj such that ref(s) belongs to Cj. This function may be called ref_tags(s). In a language such as Java, ref_tags would be a method that returned an int[ ]. Since the C's cover R in this example, ref(s) must lie in at least one of them, but the elements of the cover usually overlap one another, which means that points that “land near the edges” may well reside in multiple cover sets. In considering the two filter example, if F1(s) is −0.99, and F2(s) is 0.001, then ref(s) is (−0.99, 0.001), and this lies in the cover element (−1.5, 0.5)×(−0.3,1.3). Supposing that was labeled C1, the reference map may assign s to the set {1}. On the other hand, if t is mapped by F1, F2 to (0.1, 2.1), then ref(t) will be in (−1.5,0.5)×(0.7, 2.3), (−0.5, 1.5)×(0.7,2.3), (−1.5,0.5)×(1.7,3.3), and (−0.5, 1.5)×(1.7,3.3), so the set of indices would have four elements for t.

Having computed, for each point, which “cover tags” it is assigned to, for each cover element, Cd, the points may be constructed, whose tags included, as set S(d). This may mean that every point s is in S(d) for some d, but some points may belong to more than one such set. In some embodiments, there is, however, no requirement that each S(d) is non-empty, and it is frequently the case that some of these sets are empty. In the non-parallelized version of some embodiments, each point x is processed in turn, and x is inserted into a hash-bucket for each j in ref_tags(t) (that is, this may be how S(d) sets are computed).

It will be appreciated that the cover of the reference space R may be controlled by the number of intervals and the overlap identified in the resolution (e.g., see further discussion regarding FIG. 7). For example, the more intervals, the finer the resolution in S—that is, the fewer points in each S(d), but the more similar (with respect to the filters) these points may be. The greater the overlap, the more times that clusters in S(d) may intersect clusters in S(e)—this means that more “relationships” between points may appear, but, in some embodiments, the greater the overlap, the more likely that accidental relationships may appear.

In step 810, the analysis module 320 clusters each S(d) based on the metric, filter, and the space S. In some embodiments, a dynamic single-linkage clustering algorithm may be used to partition S(d). It will be appreciated that any number of clustering algorithms may be used with embodiments discussed herein. For example, the clustering scheme may be k-means clustering for some k, single linkage clustering, average linkage clustering, or any method specified by the user.

The significance of the user-specified inputs may now be seen. In some embodiments, a filter may amount to a “forced stretching” in a certain direction. In some embodiments, the analysis module 320 may not cluster two points unless ALL of the filter values are sufficiently “related” (recall that while normally related may mean “close,” the cover may impose a much more general relationship on the filter values, such as relating two points s and t if ref(s) and ref(t) are sufficiently close to the same circle in the plane). In various embodiments, the ability of a user to impose one or more “critical measures” makes this technique more powerful than regular clustering, and the fact that these filters can be anything, is what makes it so general.

The output may be a simplicial complex, from which one can extract its 1-skeleton. The nodes of the complex may be partial clusters, (i.e., clusters constructed from subsets of S specified as the preimages of sets in the given covering of the reference space R).

In step 812, the visualization engine 322 identifies nodes which are associated with a subset of the partition elements of all of the S(d) for generating an interactive visualization. For example, suppose that S={1, 2, 3, 4}, and the cover is C1, C2, C3. Then if ref_tags(1)={1, 2, 3} and ref_tags(2)={2, 3}, and ref_tags(3)={3}, and finally ref_tags(4)={1, 3}, then S(1) in this example is {1, 4}, S(2)={1,2}, and S(3)={1,2,3,4}. If 1 and 2 are close enough to be clustered, and 3 and 4 are, but nothing else, then the clustering for S(1) may be {1} {3}, and for S(2) it may be {1,2}, and for S(3) it may be {1,2}, {3,4}. So the generated graph has, in this example, at most four nodes, given by the sets {1}, {4}, {1,2}, and {3,4} (note that {1,2} appears in two different clusterings). Of the sets of points that are used, two nodes intersect provided that the associated node sets have a non-empty intersection (although this could easily be modified to allow users to require that the intersection is “large enough” either in absolute or relative terms).

Nodes may be eliminated for any number of reasons. For example, a node may be eliminated as having too few points and/or not being connected to anything else. In some embodiments, the criteria for the elimination of nodes (if any) may be under user control or have application-specific requirements imposed on it. For example, if the points are consumers, for instance, clusters with too few people in area codes served by a company could be eliminated. If a cluster was found with “enough” customers, however, this might indicate that expansion into area codes of the other consumers in the cluster could be warranted.

In step 814, the visualization engine 322 joins clusters to identify edges (e.g., connecting lines between nodes). Once the nodes are constructed, the intersections (e.g., edges) may be computed “all at once,” by computing, for each point, the set of node sets (not ref_tags, this time). That is, for each s in S, node_id_set(s) may be computed, which is an int[ ]. In some embodiments, if the cover is well behaved, then this operation is linear in the size of the set S, and we then iterate over each pair in node_id_set(s). There may be an edge between two node_id's if they both belong to the same node_id_set( ) value, and the number of points in the intersection is precisely the number of different node_id sets in which that pair is seen. This means that, except for the clustering step (which is often quadratic in the size of the sets S(d), but whose size may be controlled by the choice of cover), all of the other steps in the graph construction algorithm may be linear in the size of S, and may be computed quite efficiently.

In step 816, the visualization engine 322 generates the interactive visualization of interconnected nodes (e.g., nodes and edges displayed in FIGS. 9 and 10).

It will be appreciated that it is possible, in some embodiments, to make sense in a fairly deep way of connections between various ref( ) maps and/or choices of clustering. Further, in addition to computing edges (pairs of nodes), the embodiments described herein may be extended to compute triples of nodes, etc. For example, the analysis module 320 may compute simplicial complexes of any dimension (by a variety of rules) on nodes, and apply techniques from homology theory to the graphs to help users understand a structure in an automatic (or semi-automatic) way.

Further, it will be appreciated that uniform intervals in the covering may not always be a good choice. For example, if the points are exponentially distributed with respect to a given filter, uniform intervals can fail—in such case adaptive interval sizing may yield uniformly-sized S(d) sets, for instance.

Further, in various embodiments, an interface may be used to encode techniques for incorporating third-party extensions to data access and display techniques. Further, an interface may be used to for third-party extensions to underlying infrastructure to allow for new methods for generating coverings, and defining new reference spaces.

FIG. 9 is an example interactive visualization 900 in some embodiments. The display of the interactive visualization may be considered a “graph” in the mathematical sense. The interactive visualization comprises of two types of objects: nodes (e.g., nodes 902 and 906) (which may be balls and may be colored) and the edges (e.g., edge 904) (the black lines). The edges connect pairs of nodes (e.g., edge 904 connects node 902 with node 906). As discussed herein, each node may represent a collection of data points (rows in the database identified by the user). In one example, connected nodes tend to include data points which are “similar to” (e.g., clustered with) each other. The collection of data points may be referred to as being “in the node.” The interactive visualization may be two-dimensional, three-dimensional, or a combination of both.

In various embodiments, connected nodes and edges may form a graph or structure. There may be multiple graphs in the interactive visualization. In one example, the interactive visualization may display two or more unconnected structures of nodes and edges.

The visual properties of the nodes and edges (such as, but not limited to, color, stroke color, text, texture, shape, coordinates of the nodes on the screen) can encode any data based property of the data points within each node. For example, coloring of the nodes and/or the edges may indicate (but is not limited to) the following:

    • Values of fields or filters
    • Any general functions of the data in the nodes (e.g., if the data were unemployment rates by state, then GDP of the states may be identifiable by color the nodes)
    • Number of data points in the node

The interactive visualization 900 may contain a “bar”910 which may comprise a legend indicating patterns and/or coloring of the nodes (e.g., balls) and may also identify what the patterns and/or colors indicate. For example, in FIG. 9, bar 910 may indicate that color of some nodes is based on the density filter with blue (on the far left of the bar 910) indicating “4.99e+03” and red (on the far right of the bar 910) indicating “1.43e+04.” In general this might be expanded to show any other legend by which nodes and/or edges are colored. It will be appreciated that, in some embodiments, the user may control the color as well as what the color (and/or stroke color, text, texture, shape, coordinates of the nodes on the screen) indicates.

The user may also drag and drop objects of the interactive visualization 900. In various embodiments, the user may reorient structures of nodes and edges by dragging one or more nodes to another portion of the interactive visualization (e.g., a window). In one example, the user may select node 902, hold node 902, and drag the node across the window. The node 902 will follow the user's cursor, dragging the structure of edges and/or nodes either directly or indirectly connected to the node 902. In some embodiments, the interactive visualization 900 may depict multiple unconnected structures. Each structure may include nodes, however, none of the nodes of either structure are connected to each other. If the user selects and drags a node of the first structure, only the first structure will be reoriented with respect to the user action. The other structure will remain unchanged. The user may wish to reorient the structure in order to view nodes, select nodes, and/or better understand the relationships of the underlying data.

In one example, a user may drag a node to reorient the interactive visualization (e.g., reorient the structure of nodes and edges). While the user selects and/or drags the node, the nodes of the structure associated with the selected node may move apart from each other in order to provide greater visibility. Once the user lets go (e.g., deselects or drops the node that was dragged), the nodes of the structure may continue to move apart from each other.

In various embodiments, once the visualization engine 322 generates the interactive display, the depicted structures may move by spreading out the nodes from each other. In one example, the nodes spread from each other slowly allowing the user to view nodes distinguish from each other as well as the edges. In some embodiments, the visualization engine 322 optimizes the spread of the nodes for the user's view. In one example, the structure(s) stop moving once an optimal view has been reached.

It will be appreciated that the interactive visualization 900 may respond to gestures (e.g., multi-touch), stylus, or other interactions allowing the user to reorient nodes and edges and/or interacting with the underlying data.

The interactive visualization 900 may also respond to user actions such as when the user drags, clicks, or hovers a mouse cursor over a node. In some embodiments, when the user selects a node or edge, node information or edge information may be displayed. In one example, when a node is selected (e.g., clicked on by a user with a mouse or a mouse cursor hovers over the node), a node information box 908 may appear that indicates information regarding the selected node. In this example, the node information box 908 indicates an ID, box ID, number of elements (e.g., data points associated with the node), and density of the data associated with the node.

The user may also select multiple nodes and/or edges by clicking separate on each object, or drawing a shape (such as a box) around the desired objects. Once the objects are selected, a selection information box 912 may display some information regarding the selection. For example, selection information box 912 indicates the number of nodes selected and the total points (e.g., data points or elements) of the selected nodes.

The interactive visualization 900 may also allow a user to further interact with the display. Color option 914 allows the user to display different information based on color of the objects. Color option 914 in FIG. 9 is set to filter_Density, however, other filters may be chosen and the objects re-colored based on the selection. It will be appreciated that the objects may be colored based on any filter, property of data, or characterization. When a new option is chosen in the color option 914, the information and/or colors depicted in the color bar 910 may be updated to reflect the change.

Layout checkbox 916 may allow the user to anchor the interactive visualization 900. In one example, the layout checkbox 916 is checked indicating that the interactive visualization 900 is anchored. As a result, the user will not be able to select and drag the node and/or related structure. Although other functions may still be available, the layout checkbox 916 may help the user keep from accidentally moving and/or reorienting nodes, edges, and/or related structures. It will be appreciated the layout checkbox 916 may indicate that the interactive visualization 900 is anchored when the layout checkbox 916 is unchecked and that when the layout checkbox 916 is checked the interactive visualization 900 is no longer anchored.

The change parameters button 918 may allow a user to change the parameters (e.g., add/remove filters and/or change the resolution of one or more filters). In one example, when the change parameters button 918 is activated, the user may be directed back to the metric and filter selection interface window 600 (see FIG. 6) which allows the user to add or remove filters (or change the metric). The user may then view the filter parameter interface 700 (see FIG. 7) and change parameters (e.g., intervals and overlap) for one or more filters. The analysis module 320 may then re-analyze the data based on the changes and display a new interactive visualization 900 without again having to specify the data sets, filters, etc.

The find ID's button 920 may allow a user to search for data within the interactive visualization 900. In one example, the user may click the find ID's button 920 and receive a window allowing the user to identify data or identify a range of data. Data may be identified by ID or searching for the data based on properties of data and/or metadata. If data is found and selected, the interactive visualization 900 may highlight the nodes associated with the selected data. For example, selecting a single row or collection of rows of a database or spreadsheet may produce a highlighting of nodes whose corresponding partial cluster contains any element of that selection.

In various embodiments, the user may select one or more objects and click on the explain button 922 to receive in-depth information regarding the selection. In some embodiments, when the user selects the explain button 922, the information about the data from which the selection is based may be displayed. The function of the explain button922 is further discussed herein (e.g., see discussion regarding FIG. 10).

In various embodiments, the interactive visualization 900 may allow the user to specify and identify subsets of interest, such as output filtering, to remove clusters or connections which are too small or otherwise uninteresting. Further, the interactive visualization 900 may provide more general coloring and display techniques, including, for example, allowing a user to highlight nodes based on a user-specified predicate, and coloring the nodes based on the intensity of user-specified weighting functions.

The interactive visualization 900 may comprise any number of menu items. The “Selection” menu may allow the following functions:

    • Select singletons (select nodes which are not connected to other nodes)
    • Select all (selects all the nodes and edges)
    • Select all nodes (selects all nodes)
    • Select all edges
    • Clear selection (no selection)
    • Invert Selection (selects the complementary set of nodes or edges)
    • Select “small” nodes (allows the user to threshold nodes based on how many points they have)
    • Select leaves (selects all nodes which are connected to long “chains” in the graph)
    • Remove selected nodes
    • Show in a table (shows the selected nodes and their associated data in a table)
    • Save selected nodes (saves the selected data to whatever format the user chooses. This may allow the user to subset the data and create new data sources which may be used for further analysis.)

In one example of the “show in a table” option, information from a selection of nodes may be displayed. The information may be specific to the origin of the data. In various embodiments, elements of a database table may be listed, however, other methods specified by the user may also be included. For example, in the case of microarray data from gene expression data, heat maps may be used to view the results of the selections.

The interactive visualization 900 may comprise any number of menu items. The “Save” menu may allow may allow the user to save the whole output in a variety of different formats such as (but not limited to):

    • Image files (PNG/JPG/PDF/SVG etc.)
    • Binary output (The interactive output is saved in the binary format. The user may reopen this file at any time to get this interactive window again)

In some embodiments, graphs may be saved in a format such that the graphs may be used for presentations. This may include simply saving the image as a pdf or png file, but it may also mean saving an executable .xml file, which may permit other users to use the search and save capability to the database on the file without having to recreate the analysis.

In various embodiments, a relationship between a first and a second analysis output/interactive visualization for differing values of the interval length and overlap percentage may be displayed. The formal relationship between the first and second analysis output/interactive visualization may be that when one cover refines the next, there is a map of simplicial complexes from the output of the first to the output of the second. This can be displayed by applying a restricted form of a three-dimensional graph embedding algorithm, in which a graph is the union of the graphs for the various parameter values and in which the connections are the connections in the individual graphs as well as connections from one node to its image in the following graph. The constituent graphs may be placed in its own plane in 3D space. In some embodiments, there is a restriction that each constituent graph remain within its associated plane. Each constituent graph may be displayed individually, but a small change of parameter value may result in the visualization of the adjacent constituent graph. In some embodiments, nodes in the initial graph will move to nodes in the next graph, in a readily visualizable way.

FIG. 10 is an example interactive visualization 1000 displaying an explain information window 1002 in some embodiments. In various embodiments, the user may select a plurality of nodes and click on the explain button. When the explain button is clicked, the explain information window 1002 may be generated. The explain information window 1002 may identify the data associated with the selected object(s) as well as information (e.g., statistical information) associated with the data.

In some embodiments, the explain button allows the user to get a sense for which fields within the selected data fields are responsible for “similarity” of data in the selected nodes and the differentiating characteristics. There can be many ways of scoring the data fields. The explain information window 1002 (i.e., the scoring window in FIG. 10) is shown along with the selected nodes. The highest scoring fields may distinguish variables with respect to the rest of the data.

In one example, the explain information window 1002 indicates that data from fields day0-day6 has been selected. The minimum value of the data in all of the fields is 0. The explain information window 1002 also indicates the maximum values. For example, the maximum value of all of the data associated with the day0 field across all of the points of the selected nodes is 0.353. The average (i.e., mean) of all of the data associated with the day0 field across all of the points of the selected nodes is 0.031. The score may be a relative (e.g., normalized) value indicating the relative function of the filter; here, the score may indicate the relative density of the data associated with the day0 field across all of the points of the selected nodes. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that any information regarding the data and/or selected nodes may appear in the explain information window 1002.

It will be appreciated that the data and the interactive visualization 1000 may be interacted with in any number of ways. The user may interact with the data directly to see where the graph corresponds to the data, make changes to the analysis and view the changes in the graph, modify the graph and view changes to the data, or perform any kind of interaction.

FIG. 11 is a flowchart 1100 of functionality of the interactive visualization in some embodiments. In step 1102, the visualization engine 322 receives the analysis from the analysis module 320 and graphs nodes as balls and edges as connectors between balls 1202 to create interactive visualization 900 (see FIG. 9).

In step 1104, the visualization engine 322 determines if the user is hovering a mouse cursor over (or has selected) a ball (i.e., a node). If the user is hovering a mouse cursor over a ball or is selecting a ball, then information may be displayed regarding the data associated with the ball. In one example, the visualization engine 322 displays a node information window 908.

If the visualization engine 322 does not determine that the user is hovering a mouse cursor over (or has selected) a ball, then the visualization engine 322 determines if the user has selected balls on the graph (e.g., by clicking on a plurality of balls or drawing a box around a plurality of balls). If the user has selected a plurality of balls on the graph, the visualization engine 322 may highlight the selected balls on the graph in step 1110. The visualization engine 322 may also display information regarding the selection (e.g., by displaying a selection information window 912). The user may also click on the explain button 922 to receive more information associated with the selection (e.g., the visualization engine 322 may display the explain information window 1002).

In step 1112, the user may save the selection. For example, the visualization engine 322 may save the underlying data, selected metric, filters, and/or resolution. The user may then access the saved information and create a new structure in another interactive visualization 900 thereby allowing the user to focus attention on a subset of the data.

If the visualization engine 322 does not determine that the user has selected balls on the graph, the visualization engine 322 may determine if the user selects and drags a ball on the graph in step 1114. If the user selects and drags a ball on the graph, the visualization engine 322 may reorient the selected balls and any connected edges and balls based on the user's action in step 1116. The user may reorient all or part of the structure at any level of granularity.

It will be appreciated that although FIG. 11 discussed the user hovering over, selecting, and/or dragging a ball, the user may interact with any object in the interactive visualization 900 (e.g., the user may hover over, select, and/or drag an edge). The user may also zoom in or zoom out using the interactive visualization 900 to focus on all or a part of the structure (e.g., one or more balls and/or edges). Any number of actions and operations may be performed using the interactive visualization 900.

Further, although balls are discussed and depicted in FIGS. 9-11, it will be appreciated that the nodes may be any shape and appear as any kind of object. Further, although some embodiments described herein discuss an interactive visualization being generated based on the output of algebraic topology, the interactive visualization may be generated based on any kind of analysis and is not limited.

For years, researchers have been collecting huge amounts of data on breast cancer, yet we are still battling the disease. Complexity, rather than quantity, is one of the fundamental issues in extracting knowledge from data. A topological data exploration and visualization platform may assist the analysis and assessment of complex data. In various embodiments, a predictive and visual cancer map generated by the topological data exploration and visualization platform may assist physicians to determine treatment options.

In one example, a breast cancer map visualization may be generated based on the large amount of available information already generated by many researchers. Physicians may send biopsy data directly to a cloud-based server which may localize a new patient's data within the breast cancer map visualization. The breast cancer map visualization may be annotated (e.g., labeled) such that the physician may view outcomes of patients with similar profiles as well as different kinds of statistical information such as survival probabilities. Each new data point from a patient may be incorporated into the breast cancer map visualization to improve accuracy of the breast cancer map visualization over time.

Although the following examples are largely focused on cancer map visualizations, it will be appreciated that at least some of the embodiments described herein may apply to any biological condition and not be limited to cancer and/or disease. For example, some embodiments, may apply to different industries.

FIG. 12 is a flowchart for generating a cancer map visualization utilizing biological data of a plurality of patients in some embodiments. In various embodiments, the processing of data and user-specified options is motivated by techniques from topology and, in some embodiments, algebraic topology. As discussed herein, these techniques may be robust and general. In one example, these techniques apply to almost any kind of data for which some qualitative idea of “closeness” or “similarity” exists. It will be appreciated that the implementation of techniques described herein may apply to any level of generality.

In various embodiments, a cancer map visualization is generated using genomic data linked to clinical outcomes (i.e., medical characteristics) which may be used by physicians during diagnosis and/or treatment. Initially, publicly available data sets may be integrated to construct the topological map visualizations of patients (e.g., breast cancer patients). It will be appreciated that any private, public, or combination of private and public data sets may be integrated to construct the topological map visualizations. A map visualization may be based on biological data such as, but not limited to, gene expression, sequencing, and copy number variation. As such, the map visualization may comprise many patients with many different types of collected data. Unlike traditional methods of analysis where distinct studies of breast cancer appear as separate entities, the map visualization may fuse disparate data sets while utilizing many datasets and data types.

In various embodiments, a new patient may be localized on the map visualization. With the map visualization for subtypes of a particular disease and a new patient diagnosed with the disease, point(s) may be located among the data points used in computing the map visualization (e.g., nearest neighbor) which is closest to the new patient point. The new patient may be labeled with nodes in the map visualization containing the closest neighbor. These nodes may be highlighted to give a physician the location of the new patient among the patients in the reference data set. The highlighted nodes may also give the physician the location of the new patient relative to annotated disease subtypes.

The visualization map may be interactive and/or searchable in real-time thereby potentially enabling extended analysis and providing speedy insight into treatment.

In step 1202, biological data and clinical outcomes of previous patients may be received. The clinical outcomes may be medical characteristics. Biological data is any data that may represent a condition (e.g., a medical condition) of a person. Biological data may include any health related, medical, physical, physiological, pharmaceutical data associated with one or more patients. In one example, biological data may include measurements of gene expressions for any number of genes. In another example, biological data may include sequencing information (e.g., RNA sequencing).

In various embodiments, biological data for a plurality of patients may be publicly available. For example, various medical health facilities and/or public entities may provide gene expression data for a variety of patients. In addition to the biological data, information regarding any number of clinical outcomes, treatments, therapies, diagnoses and/or prognoses may also be provided. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that any kind of information may be provided in addition to the biological data.

The biological data, in one example, may be similar to data S as discussed with regard to step 802 of FIG. 8. The biological data may include ID fields that identify patients and data fields that are related to the biological information (e.g., gene expression measurements).

FIG. 13 is an example data structure 1300 including biological data 1304a-1304y for a number of patients 1308a-1308n that may be used to generate the cancer map visualization in some embodiments. Column 1302 represents different patient identifiers for different patients. The patient identifiers may be any identifier.

At least some biological data may be contained within gene expression measurements 1304a-1304y. In FIG. 13, “y” represents any number. For example, there may be 50,000 or more separate columns for different gene expressions related to a single patient or related to one or more samples from a patient. It will be appreciated that column 1304a may represent a gene expression measurement for each patient (if any for some patients) associated with the patient identifiers in column 1302. The column 1304b may represent a gene expression measurement of one or more genes that are different than that of column 1304a. As discussed, there may be any number of columns representing different gene expression measurements.

Column 1306 may include any number of clinical outcomes, prognoses, diagnoses, reactions, treatments, and/or any other information associated with each patient. All or some of the information contained in column 1306 may be displayed (e.g., by a label or an annotation that is displayed on the visualization or available to the user of the visualization via clicking) on or for the visualization.

Rows 1308a-1308n each contains biological data associated with the patient identifier of the row. For example, gene expressions in row 1308a are associated with patient identifier P1. As similarly discussed with regard to “y” herein, “n” represents any number. For example, there may be 100,000 or more separate rows for different patients.

It will be appreciated that there may be any number of data structures that contain any amount of biological data for any number of patients. The data structure(s) may be utilized to generate any number of map visualizations.

In step 1204, the analysis server may receive a filter selection. In some embodiments, the filter selection is a density estimation function. It will be appreciated that the filter selection may include a selection of one or more functions to generate a reference space.

In step 1206, the analysis server performs the selected filter(s) on the biological data of the previous patients to map the biological data into a reference space. In one example, a density estimation function, which is well known in the art, may be performed on the biological data (e.g., data associated with gene expression measurement data 1304a-1304y) to relate each patient identifier to one or more locations in the reference space (e.g., on a real line).

In step 1208, the analysis server may receive a resolution selection. The resolution may be utilized to identify overlapping portions of the reference space (e.g., a cover of the reference space R) in step 1210.

As discussed herein, the cover of R may be a finite collection of open sets (in the metric of R) such that every point in R lies in at least one of these sets. In various examples, R is k-dimensional Euclidean space, where k is the number of filter functions. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the cover of the reference space R may be controlled by the number of intervals and the overlap identified in the resolution (e.g., see FIG. 7). For example, the more intervals, the finer the resolution in S (e.g., the similarity space of the received biological data)—that is, the fewer points in each S(d), but the more similar (with respect to the filters) these points may be. The greater the overlap, the more times that clusters in S(d) may intersect clusters in S(e)—this means that more “relationships” between points may appear, but, in some embodiments, the greater the overlap, the more likely that accidental relationships may appear.

In step 1212, the analysis server receives a metric to cluster the information of the cover in the reference space to partition S(d). In one example, the metric may be a Pearson Correlation. The clusters may form the groupings (e.g., nodes or balls). Various cluster means may be used including, but not limited to, a single linkage, average linkage, complete linkage, or k-means method.

As discussed herein, in some embodiments, the analysis module 320 may not cluster two points unless filter values are sufficiently “related” (recall that while normally related may mean “close,” the cover may impose a much more general relationship on the filter values, such as relating two points s and t if ref(s) and ref(t) are sufficiently close to the same circle in the plane where ref( ) represents one or more filter functions). The output may be a simplicial complex, from which one can extract its 1-skeleton. The nodes of the complex may be partial clusters, (i.e., clusters constructed from subsets of S specified as the preimages of sets in the given covering of the reference space R).

In step 1214, the analysis server may generate the visualization map with nodes representing clusters of patient members and edges between nodes representing common patient members. In one example, the analysis server identifies nodes which are associated with a subset of the partition elements of all of the S(d) for generating an interactive visualization.

As discussed herein, for example, suppose that S={1, 2, 3, 4}, and the cover is C1, C2, C3. Suppose cover C1 contains {1, 4}, C2 contains {1,2}, and C3 contains {1,2,3,4}. If 1 and 2 are close enough to be clustered, and 3 and 4 are, but nothing else, then the clustering for S(1) may be {1}, {4}, and for S(2) it may be {1,2}, and for S(3) it may be {1,2}, {3,4}. So the generated graph has, in this example, at most four nodes, given by the sets {1}, {4}, {1, 2}, and {3, 4} (note that {1, 2} appears in two different clusterings). Of the sets of points that are used, two nodes intersect provided that the associated node sets have a non-empty intersection (although this could easily be modified to allow users to require that the intersection is “large enough” either in absolute or relative terms).

As a result of clustering, member patients of a grouping may share biological similarities (e.g., similarities based on the biological data).

The analysis server may join clusters to identify edges (e.g., connecting lines between nodes). Clusters joined by edges (i.e., interconnections) share one or more member patients. In step 1216, a display may display a visualization map with attributes based on the clinical outcomes contained in the data structures (e.g., see FIG. 13 regarding clinical outcomes). Any labels or annotations may be utilized based on information contained in the data structures. For example, treatments, prognoses, therapies, diagnoses, and the like may be used to label the visualization. In some embodiments, the physician or other user of the map visualization accesses the annotations or labels by interacting with the map visualization.

The resulting cancer map visualization may reveal interactions and relationships that were obscured, untested, and/or previously not recognized.

FIG. 14 is an example visualization displaying the cancer map visualization 1400 in some embodiments. The cancer map visualization 1400 represents a topological network of cancer patients. The cancer map visualization 1400 may be based on publicly and/or privately available data.

In various embodiments, the cancer map visualization 1400 is created using gene expression profiles of excised tumors. Each node (i.e., ball or grouping displayed in the map visualization 1400) contains a subset of patients with similar genetic profiles.

As discussed herein, one or more patients (i.e., patient members of each node or grouping) may occur in multiple nodes. A patient may share a similar genetic profile with multiple nodes or multiple groupings. In one example, of 50,000 different gene expressions of the biological data, multiple patients may share a different genetic profiles (e.g., based on different gene expression combinations) with different groupings. When a patient shares a similar genetic profile with different groupings or nodes, the patient may be included within the groupings or nodes.

The cancer map visualization 1400 comprises groupings and interconnections that are associated with different clinical outcomes. All or some of the clinical outcomes may be associated with the biological data that generated the cancer map visualization 1400. The cancer map visualization 1400 includes groupings associated with survivors 1402 and groupings associated with non-survivors 1404. The cancer map visualization 1400 also includes different groupings associated with estrogen receptor positive non-survivors 1406, estrogen receptor negative non-survivors 1408, estrogen receptor positive survivors 1410, and estrogen receptor negative survivors 1412.

In various embodiments, when one or more patients are members of two or more different nodes, the nodes are interconnected by an edge (e.g., a line or interconnection). If there is not an edge between the two nodes, then there are no common member patients between the two nodes. For example, grouping 1414 shares at least one common member patient with grouping 1418. The intersection of the two groupings is represented by edge 1416. As discussed herein, the number of shared member patients of the two groupings may be represented in any number of ways including color of the interconnection, color of the groupings, size of the interconnection, size of the groupings, animations of the interconnection, animations of the groupings, brightness, or the like. In some embodiments, the number and/or identifiers of shared member patients of the two groupings may be available if the user interacts with the groupings 1414 and/or 1418 (e.g., draws a box around the two groupings and the interconnection utilizing an input device such as a mouse).

In various embodiments, a physician, on obtaining some data on a breast tumor, direct the data to an analysis server (e.g., analysis server 208 over a network such as the Internet) which may localize the patient relative to one or more groupings on the cancer map visualization 1400. The context of the cancer map visualization 1400 may enable the physician to assess various possible outcomes (e.g., proximity of representation of new patient to the different associations of clinical outcomes).

FIG. 15 is a flowchart of for positioning new patient data relative to a cancer map visualization in some embodiments. In step 1502, new biological data of a new patient is received. In various embodiments, an input module 314 of an analysis server (e.g., analysis server 208 of FIGS. 1 and 2) may receive biological data of a new patient from a physician or medical facility that performed analysis of one or more samples to generate the biological data. The biological data may be any data that represents a biological data of the new patient including, for example, gene expressions, sequencing information, or the like.

In some embodiments, the analysis server 208 may comprise a new patient distance module and a location engine. In step 1504, the new patient distance module determines distances between the biological data of each patient of the cancer map visualization 1600 and the new biological data from the new patient. For example, the previous biological data that was utilized in the generation of the cancer map visualization 1600 may be stored in mapped data structures. Distances may be determined between the new biological data of the new patient and each of the previous patient's biological data in the mapped data structure.

It will be appreciated that distances may be determined in any number of ways using any number of different metrics or functions. Distances may be determined between the biological data of the previous patients and the new patients. For example, a distance may be determined between a first gene expression measurement of the new patient and each (or a subset) of the first gene expression measurements of the previous patients (e.g., the distance between G1 of the new patient and G1 of each previous patient may be calculated). Distances may be determined between all (or a subset of) other gene expression measurements of the new patient to the gene expression measurements of the previous patients.

In various embodiments, a location of the new patient on the cancer map visualization 1600 may be determined relative to the other member patients utilizing the determined distances.

In step 1506, the new patient distance module may compare distances between the patient members of each grouping to the distances determined for the new patient. The new patient may be located in the grouping of patient members that are closest in distance to the new patient. In some embodiments, the new patient location may be determined to be within a grouping that contains the one or more patient members that are closest to the new patient (even if other members of the grouping have longer distances with the new patient). In some embodiments, this step is optional.

In various embodiments, a representative patient member may be determined for each grouping. For example, some or all of the patient members of a grouping may be averaged or otherwise combined to generate a representative patient member of the grouping (e.g., the distances and/or biological data of the patient members may be averaged or aggregated). Distances may be determined between the new patient biological data and the averaged or combined biological data of one or more representative patient members of one or more groupings. The location engine may determine the location of the new patient based on the distances. In some embodiments, once the closest distance between the new patient and the representative patient member is found, distances may be determined between the new patient and the individual patient members of the grouping associated with the closest representative patient member.

In optional step 1508, a diameter of the grouping with the one or more of the patient members that are closest to the new patient (based on the determined distances) may be determined. In one example, the diameters of the groupings of patient members closest to the new patient are calculated. The diameter of the grouping may be a distance between two patient members who are the farthest from each other when compared to the distances between all patient members of the grouping. If the distance between the new patient and the closest patient member of the grouping is less than the diameter of the grouping, the new patient may be located within the grouping. If the distance between the new patient and the closest patient member of the grouping is greater than the diameter of the grouping, the new patient may be outside the grouping (e.g., a new grouping may be displayed on the cancer map visualization with the new patient as the single patient member of the grouping). If the distance between the new patient and the closest patient member of the grouping is equal to the diameter of the grouping, the new patient may be placed within or outside the grouping.

It will be appreciated that the determination of the diameter of the grouping is not required in determining whether the new patient location is within or outside of a grouping. In various embodiments, a distribution of distances between member patients and between member patients and the new patient is determined. The decision to locate the new patient within or outside of the grouping may be based on the distribution. For example, if there is a gap in the distribution of distances, the new patient may be separated from the grouping (e.g., as a new grouping). In some embodiments, if the gap is greater than a preexisting threshold (e.g., established by the physician, other user, or previously programmed), the new patient may be placed in a new grouping that is placed relative to the grouping of the closest member patients. The process of calculating the distribution of distances of candidate member patients to determine whether there may be two or more groupings may be utilized in generation of the cancer map visualization further described herein (e.g., in the process as described with regard to FIG. 12). It will be appreciated that there may be any number of ways to determine whether a new patient should be included within a grouping of other patient members.

In step 1510, the location engine determines the location of the new patient relative to the member patients and/or groupings of the cancer map visualization. The new location may be relative to the determined distances between the new patient and the previous patients. The location of the new patient may be part of a previously existing grouping or may form a new grouping.

In some embodiments, the location of the new patient with regard to the cancer map visualization may be performed locally to the physician. For example, the cancer map visualization 1400 may be provided to the physician (e.g., via a digital device). The physician may load the new patient's biological data locally and the distances may be determined locally or via a cloud-based server. The location(s) associated with the new patient may be overlaid on the previously existing cancer map visualization either locally or remotely.

It will be appreciated that, in some embodiments, the previous state of the cancer map visualization (e.g., cancer map visualization 1400) may be retained or otherwise stored and a new cancer map visualization generated utilizing the new patient biological data (e.g., in a method similar to that discussed with regard to FIG. 12). The newly generated map may be compared to the previous state and the differences may be highlighted thereby, in some embodiments, highlighting the location(s) associated with the new patient. In this way, distances may be not be calculated as described with regard to FIG. 15, but rather, the process may be similar to that as previously discussed.

FIG. 16 is an example visualization displaying the cancer map including positions for three new cancer patients in some embodiments. The cancer map visualization 1400 comprises groupings and interconnections that are associated with different clinical outcomes as discussed with regard to FIG. 14. All or some of the clinical outcomes may be associated with the biological data that generated the cancer map visualization 1400. The cancer map visualization 1400 includes different groupings associated with survivors 1402, groupings associated with non-survivors 1404, estrogen receptor positive non-survivors 1406, estrogen receptor negative non-survivors 1408, estrogen receptor positive survivors 1410, and estrogen receptor negative survivors 1412.

The cancer map visualization 1400 includes three locations for three new breast cancer patients. The breast cancer patient location 1602 is associated with the clinical outcome of estrogen receptor positive survivors. The breast cancer patient location 1604 is associated with the clinical outcome of estrogen receptor negative survivors. Unfortunately, breast cancer patient location 1606 is associated with estrogen receptor negative non-survivors. Based on the locations, a physician may consider different diagnoses, prognoses, treatments, and therapies to maintain or attempt to move the breast cancer patient to a different location utilizing the cancer map visualization 1400.

In some embodiments, the physician may assess the underlying biological data associated with any number of member patients of any number of groupings to better understand the genetic similarities and/or dissimilarities. The physician may utilize the information to make better informed decisions.

The patient location 1604 is highlighted on the cancer map visualization 1400 as active (e.g., selected by the physician). It will be appreciated that the different locations may be of any color, size, brightness, and/or animated to highlight the desired location(s) for the physician. Further, although only one location is identified for three different breast cancer patients, any of the breast cancer patients may have multiple locations indicating different genetic similarities.

It will be appreciated that the cancer map visualization 1400 may be updated with new information at any time. As such, as new patients are added to the cancer map visualization 1400, the new data updates the visualization such that as future patients are placed in the map, the map may already include the updated information. As new information and/or new patient data is added to the cancer map visualization 1400, the cancer map visualization 1400 may improve as a tool to better inform physicians or other medical professionals.

In various embodiments, the cancer map visualization 1400 may track changes in patients over time. For example, updates to a new patient may be visually tracked as changes in are measured in the new patient's biological data. In some embodiments, previous patient data is similarly tracked which may be used to determine similarities of changes based on condition, treatment, and/or therapies, for example. In various embodiments, velocity of change and/or acceleration of change of any number of patients may be tracked over time using or as depicted on the cancer map visualization 1400. Such depictions may assist the treating physician or other personnel related to the treating physician to better understand changes in the patient and provide improved, current, and/or updated diagnoses, prognoses, treatments, and/or therapies.

FIG. 17 is a flowchart of utilization the visualization and positioning of new patient data in some embodiments. In various embodiments, a physician may collect amounts of genomic information from tumors removed from a new patient, input the data (e.g., upload the data to an analysis server), and receive a map visualization with a location of the new patient. The new patient's location within the map may offer the physician new information about the similarities to other patients. In some embodiments, the map visualization may be annotated so that the physician may check the outcomes of previous patients in a given region of the map visualization are distributed and then use the information to assist in decision-making for diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and/or therapy.

In step 1702, a medical professional or other personnel may remove a sample from a patient. The sample may be of a tumor, blood, or any other biological material. In one example, a medical professional performs a tumor excision. Any number of samples may be taken from a patient.

In step 1704, the sample(s) may be provided to a medical facility to determine new patient biological data. In one example, the medical facility measures genomic data such as gene expression of a number of genes or protein levels.

In step 1706, the medical professional or other entity associated with the medical professional may receive the new patient biological data based on the sample(s) from the new patient. In one example, a physician may receive the new patient biological data. The physician may provide all or some of the new patient biological data to an analysis server over the Internet (e.g., the analysis server may be a cloud-based server). In some embodiments, the analysis server is the analysis server 208 of FIG. 2. In some embodiments, the medical facility that determines the new patient biological data provides the biological data in an electronic format which may be uploaded to the analysis server. In some embodiments, the medical facility that determines the new patient biological data (e.g., the medical facility that measures the genomic data) provide the biological data to the analysis server at the request of the physician or others associated with the physician. It will be appreciated that the biological data may be provided to the analysis server in any number of ways.

The analysis server may be any digital device and may not be limited to a digital device on a network. In some embodiments, the physician may have access to the digital device. For example, the analysis server may be a table, personal computer, local server, or any other digital device.

Once the analysis server receives the biological data of the new patient (e.g., the new patient biological data may be uploaded to the analysis serer in step 1708), the new patient may be localized in the map visualization and the information may be sent back to the physician in step 1710. The visualization may be a map with nodes representing clusters of previous patient members and edges between nodes representing common patient members. The visualization may further depict one or more locations related to the biological data of the new patient.

The map visualization may be provided to the physician or other associated with the physician in real-time. For example, once the biological data associated with the new patient is provided to the analysis server, the analysis server may provide the map visualization back to the physician or other associated with the physician within a reasonably short time (e.g., within seconds or minutes). In some embodiments, the physician may receive the map visualization over any time.

The map visualization may be provided to the physician in any number of ways. For example, the physician may receive the map visualization over any digital device such as, but not limited to, an office computer, IPad, tablet device, media device, smartphone, e-reader, or laptop.

In step 1712, the physician may assess possible different clinical outcomes based on the map visualization. In one example, the map-aided physician may make decisions on therapy and treatments depending on where the patient lands on the visualization (e.g., survivor or non-survivor). The map visualization may include annotations or labels that identify one or more sets of groupings and interconnections as being associated with one or more clinical outcomes. The physician may assess possible clinical outcomes based on the position(s) on the map associated with the new patient.

FIG. 18 is a block diagram of an exemplary digital device 1800. The digital device 1800 comprises a processor 1802, a memory system 1804, a storage system 1806, a communication network interface 1808, an I/O interface 1810, and a display interface 1812 communicatively coupled to a bus 1814. The processor 1802 may be configured to execute executable instructions (e.g., programs). In some embodiments, the processor 1802 comprises circuitry or any processor capable of processing the executable instructions.

The memory system 1804 is any memory configured to store data. Some examples of the memory system 1804 are storage devices, such as RAM or ROM. The memory system 1804 can comprise the ram cache. In various embodiments, data is stored within the memory system 1804. The data within the memory system 1804 may be cleared or ultimately transferred to the storage system 1806.

The storage system 1806 is any storage configured to retrieve and store data. Some examples of the storage system 1806 are flash drives, hard drives, optical drives, and/or magnetic tape. In some embodiments, the digital device 1800 includes a memory system 1804 in the form of RAM and a storage system 1806 in the form of flash data. Both the memory system 1804 and the storage system 1806 comprise computer readable media which may store instructions or programs that are executable by a computer processor including the processor 1802.

The communication network interface (com. network interface) 1808 can be coupled to a data network (e.g., communication network 204) via the link 1816. The communication network interface 1808 may support communication over an Ethernet connection, a serial connection, a parallel connection, or an ATA connection, for example. The communication network interface 1808 may also support wireless communication (e.g., 1802.11 a/b/g/n, WiMAX). It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the communication network interface 1808 can support many wired and wireless standards.

The optional input/output (I/O) interface 1810 is any device that receives input from the user and output data. The optional display interface 1812 is any device that may be configured to output graphics and data to a display. In one example, the display interface 1812 is a graphics adapter.

It will be appreciated that the hardware elements of the digital device 1800 are not limited to those depicted in FIG. 18. A digital device 1800 may comprise more or less hardware elements than those depicted. Further, hardware elements may share functionality and still be within various embodiments described herein. In one example, encoding and/or decoding may be performed by the processor 1802 and/or a co-processor located on a GPU.

FIG. 19 shows example a landmark module 1900 configured to identify landmark points that approximate or represent a larger collection of data points in accordance with various embodiments. In this example, landmark module 1900 comprises landmark selection module 1902, a distance calculation module 1904, a landmark distance identification module 1906, a landmark distance storage module 1908, a landmark distance comparison module 1910, and a landmark assignment module 1912.

The landmark selection module 1902 may be configured to randomly select a first subset of the data points to assign as an initial set of landmark points. For example, the landmark selection module 1902 may select an initial set of points from the finite metric space as a landmark set L. It will be appreciated that the landmark selection module 1902 may select points pseudo-randomly (e.g., randomly within the bounds of software or computer implementation) and/or in combination with other methods (e.g., randomly within portions of the finite metric space or based, in part, on density of information). Landmark selection module 1902 may select points in any number of ways (e.g., the landmark selection module 1902 may select points based on any methodology and/or may not select points randomly).

The distance calculation module 1904 may be configured to calculate the distances between a respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point in the finite reference space. In some embodiments, the distance calculation module 1904 stores some or all of the information for later use.

The landmark distance identification module 1906 may be configured to identify the shortest distance from among the distances between the respective non-landmark data point and each landmark. The shortest distance between a non-landmark data point and a landmark data point may indicate the closest landmark to that particular non-landmark data point.

The landmark distance storage module 1908 may be configured to store the shortest data point distance for the respective non-landmark data point as a landmark distance for that data point. The landmark distance comparison module 1910 may be configured to determine a longest landmark distance from among the shortest distances (e.g., stored by the landmark distance storage module 1908) to a nearest landmark for each data point.

The landmark assignment module 1912 may be configured to add a data point associated with the longest landmark distance to the initial set of landmark points thereby adding a new landmark and creating a new set of landmark points.

As described herein, the landmarks (L) are a subset of the collection data points in the finite metric space. The landmarks may be chosen such that the subset is representative of or to approximate the received data. In some embodiments, the landmarks are chosen to reflect both the “average” and “extreme” behavior of the data points in the space and, thus, analytics and other operations performed on the landmark set as an approximation of the behavior of the whole metric space (X). In some embodiments, the landmark points may be used as a means of increasing scale and performance when working with a large collection of data by only operating on a subset of a space.

FIG. 20 is a flow chart 2000 depicting an example method for generating a set of landmark points from a data set in some embodiments. The following discussion regarding the steps in FIG. 20 will be described with references to FIGS. 21A-D and FIG. 22A-C. In step 2002, the landmark selection module 1902 receives a set of data points defining a finite metric space. For example, receiving data may include landmark selection module 1902 accessing a data structure containing a very large volume of multidimensional data, as shown in FIG. 21A.

FIG. 21A shows example metric space 2100 containing data in accordance with various embodiments. Since the amount of data shown in metric space 2100 handled by the methods and algorithms discussed herein may be large (e.g., on the order of 200 million+ data points), subset 2102 of metric space 2100 will be used for discussion purposes. Accordingly, FIG. 21B shows subset 2102 composed of individual data points 2104 in accordance with some embodiments.

At step 2004, landmark selection module 2902 selects a random subset of individual data points 2104 as a first set (e.g., an initial set) of landmark points. To illustrate this step, FIG. 21C shows example random landmarks R1, R2, R3, and R4 that have been randomly selected as initial landmarks. Since metric space 2100 is large (e.g., 200 million+ data points), points selected at random tend to be located in high density areas, which is a benefit when attempting to choose a subset of points that represent the characteristics of the larger space. For example, for a metric space of approximately 200 million data points, the number of randomly selected landmark points could be approximately 5,000 points. Thus, the probability that a significant portion of the randomly selected landmarks may end up being outliers, for example, may be quite low and the randomly selected landmarks end up being located in higher density data point regions.

At step 2006, for each non-landmark point, the distance calculation module 1904 calculates distances between that particular non-landmark point and each landmark point. As used herein, the distances between landmark points and individual data points 2104 are referred to as data point distances. Accordingly, FIG. 21D shows lines corresponding to data point distances to each landmark for three points (P1, P2, and P3). It should be appreciated that, in various embodiments, the data point distances for all other points other than P1, P2, and P3 and the landmarks are also calculated, but of clarity and illustrative purposes, the lines shown in FIG. 21D have only been drawn for P1, P2, and P3. Accordingly, in this example, each distance between P1 and R1, R2, R3, and R4 is calculated, each distance between P2 and R1, R2, R3, and R4 is calculated, etc. until the distances between each non-landmark point and all the landmarks are calculated. FIGS. 22A and 22B show this process in more detail.

FIG. 22A shows example data point distances between point P1 and random landmarks R1, R2, R3, and R4. In this example, distance d1 between P1 and R1 is 3, distance d2 between P1 and R2 is 5, distance d3 between P1 and R3 is 7, and distance d4 between P1 and R4 is 6. In various embodiments, the landmark distance for a respective non-landmark point is defined as the shortest distance to its nearest landmark or the shortest data point distance. In this example, distances d1, d2, d3, and d4 are compared to each other to determine which is the shortest distance to a landmark from P1. In this example, distance d1, between P1 and R1, is the shortest distance and, thus, defined as landmark distance 2202 for P1. Accordingly, R1 is the closest landmark to P1 with corresponding landmark distance 2202 (i.e., d1=3).

Similarly, FIG. 22B shows example distances between point P2 and random landmarks R1, R2, R3, and R4. In this example, distance d5 between P2 and R1 is 5, distance d6 between P2 and R2 is 5, distance d7 between P2 and R3 is 9, and distance d8 between P2 and R4 is 8. As above, distances d5, d6, d7, and d8 are compared to each other to determine which is the shortest distance to P2's nearest landmark, which is distance d5. Accordingly, distance d5 between P2 and R1 is landmark distance 2204. Thus, R1 is also the closest landmark to P2 at landmark distance 2204 (i.e., d5=5), in this example.

Accordingly, the distance calculations described in FIGS. 22A and 22B are, thus, calculated for P3 and every other non-landmark point in metric space 2100 and the distance calculations may be stored. For example, FIG. 22C shows an example table 2250 wherein distances for each point are stored. Although FIG. 22C depicts a table, it will be appreciated that any data structure(s) or combination of data structure(s) may be utilized. Further, although table 2250 includes all distances from P1 to each landmark, it will be appreciated that, in some embodiments, a subset of the distances may be stored. In one example, only the shortest distance between P1 and the closest landmark may be stored.

Further, in this example, only the distances for points P1 and P2 are shown, but it should be appreciated that such a table or array would include distances for each non-landmark point. Thus, in one embodiment, table 2250 stores the distances for each point to each landmark in metric space 2100. From these distances, a landmark distance (e.g., shortest distance to a nearest landmark) for each point may be identified and compared to generate a second set of landmark points. This process is discussed further with respect to FIGS. 23A-23D.

At step 2008, landmark distance identification module 1906 identifies the shortest data point distance from among the data point distances. FIG. 23A shows example landmark distances for points P1, P2, and P3 to landmark R1 which can be used to demonstrate the selection of additional landmark points. For example, landmark distance identification module 1906 determines for each point which landmark point is the closest landmark point for that respective point. This may include, for example, comparing the distance values dn from table 2250 for each point to determine which distance dn is the shortest. Accordingly, in this example, the shortest between a landmark and P1 is 3 (i.e., between P1 and landmark point R1) and the shortest distance to a landmark point from P2 is 5 which is also to landmark point R1.

Such an operation may use an indexable state for X (i.e., points such as P1, P2, and P3 in metric space 2100), an indexable array for L (e.g., L[1] is the index in X of the l′th landmark) where each random landmark point Rn and subsequently determined landmark point is in L, and dClosest[x] which records the shortest distance between X[x] (i.e., P1, P2, P3, etc.) and a respective closest landmark point, and inL[ ] with is true if x is in L.

At step 2010, landmark distance storage module 1908 stores the shortest distance from each non-landmark point to a landmark point (or the distance to the nearest landmark) in an array. FIG. 23 B shows example shortest distances from each non-landmark point to each landmark point. In FIG. 23B, table 2350 contains the shortest distances between each data point P1, P2, and P3 and its closest landmark, respectively.

In various embodiments, for each non-landmark point, the closest landmark point is identified. As a result, a list of non-landmark points that identify the same landmark point as the closest landmark point may be identified. For example, for each such landmark point, a table such as table 2350 may be generated that identifies the non-landmark points that identify the same particular landmark point as being closest. The table 2350 may further identify distances between those non-landmark points and the same particular landmark point. In this example, table 2350 may contain the shortest distances between data points P1, P2, and P3 and landmark point R1. data point and only one landmark R1

At step 2012, landmark distance comparison module 1910 determines a longest landmark distance from among each of the shortest data point distances (or a longest landmark distance) from among each of the landmark distances. For example, returning to FIG. 23A, random landmark point R1 is the landmark nearest to points P1, P2, and P3 and, thus, the landmark distance ln (i.e., the distance to a nearest landmark) for each of these points is its respective distance to R1, which may be stored in table 2350. Thus, in this example, the landmark distance for P1 is l1=3, the landmark distance for P2 is l2=5, and the landmark distance for P3 is l3=4. Accordingly, landmark distance comparison module 1910 compares these distances to identify the longest distance which, in this example, is l2=5 shown circled in FIG. 23B, belonging to point P2.

Thus, with the longest landmark distance, P2 is maximally far away from the random landmarks relative to the other non-landmark points and, at step 2014, landmark assignment module 1912 adds P2 to the set of random landmark points (or seed landmarks) to generate a new set of landmark points. Thus, there is an initial set of randomly selected landmark points (R) and max-min landmark points (MM) calculated along the way are subsequently added to R to generate a set of landmarks (L). Accordingly, FIG. 23C shows point P2 as new MM landmark point L1.

In various embodiments, this process may start over to identify and add a second most maximally far away point to the set of landmark points after L1 has been added to the initial set of randomly selected landmark points (R). Thus, steps 2002 to 2014 can be repeated with L1 included into the set of landmark points (L) when determining the landmark distances for each point. Accordingly, FIG. 23D shows subset 2102 with L1 as a new landmark where the distances between various points have been calculated. In this example, R1 is no longer the closest landmark to points P1 and P3 with the inclusion of L1 and L2. For example, P1 is now a distance d1′=2 from its nearest landmark L1 and P3, whose nearest landmark is also L1, is now a distance d3′=2 from L1. Further, as shown in FIG. 23D, the distance d4′=3 between point P4 and R1 and the distance d5′=4 between point P4 and newly added MM landmark point L2 since d5′ is larger than d4′, d3′, and d1′.

In one example, a method for generating a set of landmark points can utilize a process called PROCESS_x_AND_l(X,l), for example, that determines the distances between each point and each landmark point, identifies the closest landmark for each point (dClosest[ ]), and updates an array of dClosest[ ] for each point. Subsequently, a process called FIND_NEXT_L(1) can add a new MM landmark at 1 to the set of landmarks (L). For example, PROCESS_x_AND_l(x,l) can be implemented as follows:


double dist = distance(x, L[l]);
if (dist < dClosest[x]) dClosest[x] = dist;

FIND_NEXT_L(1) can be implemented as follows:


double closestD = −Double.MAX_VALUE;
for (int x = 0; x < |X|; x++) {
 if (!inL[x]&& (dClosest[x]> closestD)) {
closestD = dClosest[x];
L[l] = x;

Thus, referring back to FIG. 23D, the method for generating a set of landmark points can proceed by first selecting random landmarks R1, R2, R3, and R4 and, thereafter, successively calling PROCESS_x_AND_l(x,l) for each point in metric space 2100 (e.g., each x in X on every l in L). Accordingly, a first portion of a method for generating a set of landmark points can be implemented as follows:


for l = 0, l < |R| l++
do
for x = 0, x < |X|, x++
do
PROCESS_x_AND_l(x,l)

Once the first portion is completed, the remaining landmark points can be looped over one at a time to find the next MM landmark in a second portion of the method:


for l = |R|, l < |L|, l++
do
FIND_NEXT_L(l)
for x = 0, x < |X|, x++
do
PROCESS_x_AND_l(x,l)
done

If the landmark selection process is improperly implemented, it can be inefficient for large spaces. For example, the |L|×|X| matrix can be huge and, if the distance calculations are not ordered properly, the computation can page wildly. For example, as described above, the landmark selection process iterates |L| (i.e., the number of landmark points) times over the data X (i.e., the number of data points) of metric space 2100. If the data space X does not fit into available memory on a computer system, the data in X gets read repeatedly from disc, with slow results.

It will be appreciated that landmarks may be used instead of an entire data set for analysis. The landmark set may approximate the behavior of a larger data set thereby allowing analysis of the landmark set for computational efficiency and speed.

The landmark process may be used at many different stages in topological analysis (examples of topological analysis are described herein). For example, landmarks of data points mapped to a reference space may be identified. The landmark set may then be utilized to create a visualization as also described herein. In one example, as discussed regarding FIG. 8, the input module 314 may receive data (e.g., data S). In one example, a user identifies a data structure and then identifies ID and data fields. Data S may be based on the information within the ID and data fields. It will be appreciated that data S may be a finite metric space, or a generalization thereof, such as a graph or weighted graph.

The input module 314 may generate reference space R. In one example, reference space R may be a well-known metric space (e.g., such as the real line). The reference space R may be defined by the user. The analysis module 320 may generate a map ref( ) from S into R. The map ref( ) from S into R may be called the “reference map.”

A landmark set of data points may be determined using methods described herein. The landmark set of data points may be a subset of the data points mapped into the reference space. For example, a first subset of the data points in the map may be selected to generate an initial set of landmarks. Each data point of the first subset may define a landmark point.

As discussed herein, for each non-landmark data point, first data point distances between a respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks may be calculated, a first shortest data point distance from among the first data point distances between the respective non-landmark data point and each landmark point of the initial set of landmarks may be identified, and the first shortest data point distance as a first landmark distance for the respective non-landmark data point may be stored. Subsequently, one or a group (i.e., a predetermined number of) non-landmark data point(s) with longest first landmark distance(s) in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark data points may be identified. The non-landmark data point(s) associated with the longest first landmark distance as a first landmark point may be added to the initial set of landmarks to generate an expanded set of landmark points.

The resolution module 318 may generate a cover of R based on the resolution received from the user (e.g., filter(s), intervals, and overlap—see discussion regarding FIG. 7 for example). The cover of R may be a finite collection of open sets (in the metric of R) such that every point in R lies in at least one of these sets.

Having computed, for each landmark point, which “cover tags” it is assigned to, for each cover element, Cd, the points may be constructed, whose tags included, as set S(d). This may mean that every landmark point s is in S(d) for some d, but some landmark points may belong to more than one such set. In some embodiments, there is, however, no requirement that each S(d) is non-empty, and it is frequently the case that some of these sets are empty. In the non-parallelized version of some embodiments, each landmark point x is processed in turn, and x is inserted into a hash-bucket for each j in ref_tags(t) (that is, this may be how S(d) sets are computed).

The analysis module 320 may cluster each landmark S(d) based on the metric, filter, and the space S. In some embodiments, a dynamic single-linkage clustering algorithm may be used to partition S(d).

The visualization engine 322 may identify nodes which are associated with a subset of the partition elements of all of the landmark S(d) for generating a visualization. Of the sets of points that are used, two nodes intersect provided that the associated node sets have a non-empty intersection.

The visualization engine 322 may join clusters to identify edges (e.g., connecting lines between nodes). Once the nodes are constructed, the intersections (e.g., edges) may be computed “all at once,” by computing, for each point, the set of node sets (not ref_tags, this time). That is, for each landmark s in S, node_id_set(s) may be computed, which is an int[ ]. In some embodiments, if the cover is well behaved, then this operation is linear in the size of the set S, and we then iterate over each pair in node_id_set(s). There may be an edge between two node_id's if they both belong to the same node_id_set( ) value, and the number of landmark points in the intersection is precisely the number of different node_id sets in which that pair is seen. This means that, except for the clustering step (which is often quadratic in the size of the sets S(d), but whose size may be controlled by the choice of cover), all of the other steps in the graph construction algorithm may be linear in the size of S, and may be computed quite efficiently.

The visualization engine 322 may generate the visualization of interconnected nodes.

The landmark process may be used at other stages in topological analysis. For example, nodes may be determined based on complex data using topological data analysis as described herein. The nodes may also be landmarked and a visualization may be generated that includes the nodes of landmark points. This subset of nodes may have in a manner similar to the larger set of all nodes.

In one example, as discussed regarding FIG. 8, the input module 314 may receive data (e.g., data S). In one example, a user identifies a data structure and then identifies ID and data fields. Data S may be based on the information within the ID and data fields. The input module 314 may generate reference space R. In one example, reference space R may be a well-known metric space (e.g., such as the real line). The analysis module 320 may generate a map ref( ) from S into R. The map ref( ) from S into R may be called the “reference map.”

The resolution module 318 may generate a cover of R based on the resolution received from the user (e.g., filter(s), intervals, and overlap—see discussion regarding FIG. 7 for example). The cover of R may be a finite collection of open sets (in the metric of R) such that every point in R lies in at least one of these sets.

The analysis module 320 may cluster each data point S(d) based on the metric, filter, and the space S. In some embodiments, a dynamic single-linkage clustering algorithm may be used to partition S(d).

The visualization engine 322 may identify nodes which are associated with a subset of the partition elements of all of the data points S(d) for generating a visualization. Of the sets of points that are used, two nodes intersect provided that the associated node sets have a non-empty intersection.

The nodes may be landmarked. For example, an initial set of nodes may be identified as landmark nodes. For each non-landmark node, first data point distances between a respective non-landmark node and each landmark node of the initial set of landmarks may be calculated, a first shortest data point distance from among the first data point distances between the respective non-landmark node and each landmark node of the initial set of landmarks may be identified, and the first shortest data point distance as a first landmark distance for the respective non-landmark node may be stored. Subsequently, one or a group (i.e., a predetermined number of) non-landmark data point(s) with longest first landmark distance(s) in comparison with other first landmark distances of other non-landmark nodes may be identified. The non-landmark node(s) associated with the longest first landmark distance as a first landmark node may be added to the initial set of landmarks to generate an expanded set of landmark nodes.

The visualization engine 322 may join clusters to identify edges (e.g., connecting lines between nodes). Once the nodes are constructed, the intersections (e.g., edges) may be computed “all at once,” by computing, for each point, the set of node sets. The visualization engine 322 may generate the visualization of interconnected nodes.

FIG. 24A shows an example wherein data in X does not fit into local memory 2402 (e.g., Random Access Memory (RAM)) and is, therefore, read off of long term storage 2404. In this example, landmark set 2408 represents storage of the set of all landmark points and data point sets 2406a, 2406b, and 2406c represent three different portions of the data space X (e.g., each of data points sets 2406a, 2406b, and 2406c containing different data). Accordingly, in this example, landmark set 2408 and only a first set 2406a of data space X can fit in local memory 2402.

In the example discussed herein, landmark set 2408 could represent an amount of data points on the order of about 5,000 points and data point sets 2406a, 2406b, and 2406c could represent an amount of data points on the order of about 100 million+ data points. Thus, once data point set 2406a has been compared to landmark set 2408 to determine the distance calculations, data point set 2406a must be removed from local memory 2402 to make room for data point set 2406b. After removal of data point set 2406a from local memory 2402, data point set 2406b is read off disk 2404 and loaded into local memory 2402. Accordingly, once data point set 2406b has been compared to landmark set 2408 to determine those distance calculations, data point set 2406b is removed from local memory 2402 and data point set 2406c is read off disk 2404 and loaded into local memory 2402. The process of reading this much data off of disk 2404 creates significant latency.

Since the number of landmark points does not change until after a new landmark has been determined and added (i.e., after each iteration), the number of landmark points is effectively limited for each round of distance calculations and, thus, PROCESS_x_AND_l( ) may only depend on x (e.g., data point sets 2406a, 2406b, and 2406c). Therefore, PROCESS_x_AND_l( ) can be called in any order on x and the set L values (Landmark point values), provided that the process is being called on all landmark (landmark set 2408) and non-landmark point pairs (e.g., data point sets 2406a, 2406b, and 2406c). As a result, the first process described above may be reordered to process all landmark points (e.g., landmark set 2408) for each x (e.g., data point sets 2406a, 2406b, and 2406c) instead of all points in X for each landmark point L. Accordingly, FIG. 24B shows an example wherein data point sets 2406a, 2406b, and 2406c are stored in local memory 2402 instead of landmark set 2408 in accordance with various embodiments. Thus, instead of repeatedly reading the large amount of data associated with data point sets 2406a, 2406b, and 2406c off of disk 2404, the comparatively much smaller amount of data associated with landmark set 2408 is read off disk 2404. Thus, the first portion of a method for generating a set of landmark points may be reordered (STEP1A) and implemented as follows:


for x = 0, x < |X|, x++
do
for l = 0, l < |R|, l++
do
PROCESS_x_AND_l(x,l)
done

Since PROCESS_x_AND_l( ) only depends on x, a current state or snapshot of the set of landmarks can be stored in local memory 2402 and PROCESS_x_AND_l( ) can be altered to use that state when performing a next iteration of distance calculations. Accordingly, if that state fits into local memory 2402 along with, for example, J rows of X, and the reordered first portion (STEP1A) of the method for generating the set of landmarks and be run with only |X|/J page faults. For example, since the number of landmark points L is generally much smaller than the set of data points |X|, the number of page faults when scanning X with L in local memory 2402 is approximately the same as the number of page faults when scanning X without L. For example, if M is a number of rows of X which can be simultaneously stored in local memory 2402, then the number of page faults associated with the first potion of the method (STEP1) before reordering is approximately |L|*|X|/M and the number of page faults associated with the first portion of the method after reordering (STEP1A) is approximately |X|/(M−|L|).

Further, given T threads, the data points of X can be split into stripes such that at least T of these stripes can fit into local memory 2402 along with L. Accordingly, each thread of T can independently process a stripe, such that there are ‘T versions’ of STEP1A concurrently operating. As the x values are partitioned, contention is minimal and we see in practice speedups of a factor of T. Concurrent operations do not always finish precisely at the same time, thus, in one example, each thread may include spin-locks to acquire new a stripe in order. This can also enable the stripes to be fairly small and kept roughly together as X is iterated over.

The max-min landmark selection process for T threads is somewhat different, but it can be understood as a FIND_NEXT_L(1) followed by a STEP1 with only one landmark (which is equivalent to STEP1A, in this case) instead of a STEP2. This means that the end of each STEP1A thread can be synchronized to then run a FIND_NEXT_L( ) and then partition X into stripes and run the STEP1A piece in parallel. As FIND_NEXT_L( ) iterates over two (or more) arrays (e.g., one of booleans and another of doubles or floats), it may have paging issues only for truly gigantic spaces or machines with small amounts of memory.

In various embodiments, instead of determining a single new landmark point for each iteration of the aforementioned method of generating a set of landmark points, multiple landmark points can be chosen at a time. FIGS. 25A-25C show a process for generating a set of landmark points wherein multiple landmark points are selected for each iteration of distance calculations described above. In at least one embodiment, for each iteration of distance calculations, the top “n” data points associated with the longest distances to a nearest landmark point could be selected. The number “n” could vary, such as with the size of data space X, or it could be fixed to select a top predetermined number (e.g., 5) of the most distant data points, for example, from a respective landmark point for each iteration of distance calculations.

FIG. 25A shows subset 2102 with distances shown for points P1, P2, P3, and P4 to their respective closest random landmark (R1, R2, R3, R4). In this example, distance d1 between P1 and R1 is 3, distance d2 between P1 and R2 is 5, distance d3 between P3 and R3 is 7, and distance d4 between P4 and R2 is 4 and these distances are shown in table 2550 of FIG. 25B. FIG. 25B shows example shortest distances from each non-landmark point to each landmark point.

In this example, points P2, P3, and P4 are in a top “n” data points being selected for this iteration based on each of their corresponding distances to their nearest landmark point. For example, among an “n” number of landmark points being selected for this particular iteration, the distance d1=3, between P1 and R1, is too short relative to other data points in subset 2102 and may not, therefore, be chosen for inclusion in the set of landmark points. Points P2, P3, and P4, however, are chosen for inclusion in the set of landmark points with random landmark points (R1, R2, R3, R4).

Accordingly, FIG. 25C shows points P2, P3, and P4 as landmarks L1, L2, and L3 in this example. As can be seen in FIG. 25C, L1 and L2 are close together since they were selected without taking their relative distances to each other into consideration and at least one of them would not have been chose as a landmark point if only one landmark were chosen at a time. However, this process may work as an approximation and the landmark points may not necessarily need to be perfectly spaced when the collection of data points is large. One way to potentially avoid choosing landmarks that are too close to each other is by first selecting a single landmark in a first iteration, a few such as 5 landmarks in a second iteration, a single landmark again in a third iteration, and so on. However, even if a few landmark points end up being close to each other, when taken into account with all other landmarks, the space can still be effectively approximated.

In some embodiments, more than one landmark point can be selected at a time by executing STEP1A on all landmarks at once, further resulting in fewer iterations over X. In this example, identifying multiple MM landmarks at a time may be accomplished by noticing that values of dClosest[ ] decrease as more landmark points are added. Thus, the values of dClosest[x] may only stay the same or go down as more data points are added to the set of landmark points. The landmark at 1 is, thus, the x in dClosest[ ] at step 1−1 which has the largest value. As a result, if x is the MM landmark at 1, an obvious candidate for the MM landmark at 1+1 may be the x′ which has the second largest value in dClosest[ ] at 1−1. In one example, if dClosest[x′] does not decrease, x′ will be the landmark point chosen at 1+1 using any of the aforementioned processes for selecting landmark points. In other words, if x′ is further from x than from the closest of the previous 1−1 landmark points, then it may be the 1+1th landmark. This pruning can be extended by remembering some fixed number K of largest indices and values for dClosest[ ], and then pruning these by various heuristic processes. For instance, STEP2 from above can be altered as the following:


double dist = distance(x, L[l]);
if (dist < dClosest[x]) {
dClosest[x] = dist;
insertKLargest(x, dist);

In this example, insertKLargest( ) maintains a data structure which recalls the K-largest pairs (x,distance). We can then iterate over the K pairs, largest first, to recompute the dClosest[ ] values by adding the point with associated with the largest distance to the set of landmark points. Any values which remain larger than other dClosest[ ] values can be considered reliable and values which remain as the process continues to add additional points to the set of landmark points as the values of dClosest[ ] are adjusted along the way are themselves the landmark points this process is searching for. This process might fail to find any additional landmark points, however, as all the K-largest pairs might be part of a cluster eliminated by a newest landmark in the process. In practice, however, this process generally results in additional landmark points, and can reduce the number of iterations over X by the average number of landmarks generated.

In one example, the distance calculations can use only the smallest values of the distances for a given data point x, such that the number varies depending on the K in STEP2. The following method (STEP2A) is equivalent, and for certain spaces, can be more efficient:


double dist = distanceUpToLimit(x, L[l], KLargest(x));
if (dist < dClosest[x]) {
dClosest[x] = dist;
insertKLargest(x, dist);

In this example, distanceUpToLimit( ) will quit calculating the distance when it is known that the distance may be “too large to be interesting.” Since many points can be considered relatively far away, and spaces of dimensionality in the millions are not uncommon (and those in the thousands and tens of thousands are routine), this can lead to significant performance improvements.

In another example, the distances within a stripe can be computed in a single pass where the computation for each pairwise distances are interleaved, rather than computed serially. Such a process can be utilized at a low level and useful when using a smaller number of threads and metrics for which the distances can make use of specialized vectorization hardware. This approach has the potential to deliver improved performance, as it eliminates a lot of the redundant computations introduced when each distance in a stripe is computed serially. Testing, however, indicates that under load, the performance advantage associated with interleaving is marginalized, as threads spend an increasing amount of time waiting for the memory subsystem to respond.

Accordingly, interleaving, in effect, may do a kind of loop unrolling at the lowest level of the metric calculation. For example:


double 12(double *in0, double *in1, int len) {
double accum = 0;
for (int i = 0; i < len; i++) {
 accum += (in0[i]− in1[i]) * (in0[i]− in1[i]);
}
return sqrt(accum);
 }
 void interleaved_l2(double *x0, double *x1, double *x2, double *x3,
double *y, int len, double *accum) {
double accum0 = 0, accum1 = 0, accum2 = 0, accum3 = 0;
for (i = 0; i < len; i++) {
double yval = y[i];
accum0 += (x0[i]− yval) * (x0[i]− yval);
accum1 += (x1[i]− yval) * (x1[i]− yval);
accum2 += (x2[i]− yval) * (x2[i]− yval);
accum3 += (x3[i]− yval) * (x3[i]− yval);
}
accum[0] = sqrt(accum0);
accum[1] = sqrt(accum1);
accum[2] = sqrt(accum2);
accum[3] = sqrt(accum3);

In this example, “yval” does not need to be reloaded and the process was able to avoid doing three of the four loop checks. The larger “len” is the more this will matter. Thus, in this example, the distances may all be computed in a single pass where the computation of each pairwise distance was interleaved, rather than computed serially. Accordingly, this approach eliminates some redundant computations introduced when each distance in a stripe is computed serially, thereby, increasing computational efficiency.

The above-described functions and components can be comprised of instructions that are stored on a storage medium (e.g., a computer readable storage medium). The instructions can be retrieved and executed by a processor. Some examples of instructions are software, program code, and firmware. Some examples of storage medium are memory devices, tape, disks, integrated circuits, and servers. The instructions are operational when executed by the processor (e.g., a data processing device) to direct the processor to operate in accord with embodiments of the present invention. Those skilled in the art are familiar with instructions, processor(s), and storage medium.

The present invention has been described above with reference to exemplary embodiments. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications may be made and other embodiments can be used without departing from the broader scope of the invention. Therefore, these and other variations upon the exemplary embodiments are intended to be covered by the present invention.

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Citation

Patents Cited in This Cited by
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Anomaly detection in images and videos INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION 25 October 2011 25 April 2013
Systems and Methods for Graphical Layout AYASDI, INC. 23 January 2012 25 July 2013
Method for image data processing NAVY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE, AS REPRESENTED BY THE SECRETARY 20 September 2005 09 November 2006
Providing direct manipulation of an analytics data visualization within an analytics report INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION 12 January 2012 18 July 2013
Systems and Methods for Visualization of Data Analysis AYASDI, INC. 09 February 2010 09 December 2010
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