The Visual SuperTree: similarity-based multi-scale visualization

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Similarity-based exploration of multi-dimensional data sets is a difficult task, in which most techniques do not perform well with large data sets, particularly in handling clutter that invariably happens as data sets grow larger. In this paper, we introduce the Visual SuperTree (VST), a method to build a multi-scale similarity tree that can deal with large data sets at interactive rates, maintaining most of the accuracy and the data organization capabilities of other available methods. The VST is built on top of a clustered multi-level configuration of the data that allows the user to quickly explore data sets by similarity. The method is shown to be useful for both unlabeled and labeled data, and it is capable of revealing external and internal cluster structures. We demonstrate its application on artificial and real data sets, showing additional advantages of the approach when exploring data that can be summarized meaningfully.

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We would like to thank the reviewers for their helpful suggestions.


This work was funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), Grant 2011/18838-5, and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), Grants 307411/2016-8 and 310299/2018-7.

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Correspondence to Renato R. O. da Silva.

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da Silva, R.R.O., Paiva, J.G.S., Telles, G.P. et al. The Visual SuperTree: similarity-based multi-scale visualization. Vis Comput 35, 1067–1080 (2019) doi:10.1007/s00371-019-01696-5

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  • Similarity trees
  • Multi-dimensional data
  • Multi-scale visualization
  • Image and text visualization