Network-based visual analysis of tabular data
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Tabular data is pervasive in the form of spreadsheets and relational databases. Although tables often describe multivariate data without explicit network semantics, it may be advantageous to explore the data modeled as a graph or network for analysis. Even when a given table design conveys some static network semantics, analysts may want to look at multiple networks from different perspectives, at different levels of abstraction, and with different edge semantics. This dissertation is motivated by the observation that a general approach for performing multi-dimensional and multi-level network-based visual analysis on multivariate tabular data is necessary. We present a formal framework based on the relational data model that systematically specifies the construction and transformation of graphs from relational data tables. In the framework, a set of relational operators provide the basis for rich expressive power for network modeling. Powered by this relational algebraic framework, we design and implement a visual analytics system called Ploceus. Ploceus supports flexible construction and transformation of networks through a direct manipulation interface, and integrates dynamic network manipulation with visual exploration for a seamless analytic experience.