A Survey of Parallel Coordinates

  • Alfred Inselberg


Visualization provides insight through images [14], and can be considered as a collection of application specific mappings: problem domain → visual range. For the visualization of multivariate problems a multidimensional system of Parallel Coordinates is studied which provides a one-to-one mapping between subsets of N-space and subsets of 2-space. The result is a systematic and rigorous way of doing and seeing analytic and synthetic N-dimensional geometry. Lines in N-space are represented by N-1 indexed points. In fact all p-flats (planes of dimension p in N-space) are represented by indexed points where the number of indices depends on p and N. The representations are generalized to enable the visualization of polytopes and certain kinds of hypersurfaces as well as recognition of convexity. Several algorithms for constructing and displaying intersections, proximities and points interior/exterior/or on a hypersurface have been obtained. The methodology has been applied to visual data mining, process control, medicine, finance, retailing, collision avoidance algorithms for air traffic control, optimization and others.


Polygonal Line Interior Point Algorithm Smooth Hypersurface Tangent Hyperplane Convex Hypersurface 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    E.W. Bassett, Ibm’s ibm fix. Industrial Computing, 14 (41): 23–25, 1995.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. Chatterjee, Visualizing Multidimensioal Polytopes and Topologies for Tolerances. Ph.D. Thesis USC, 1995.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    A. Chatterjee, P. P. Das, and S. Bhattacharya, Visualization in linear programming using parallel coordinates. Pattern Recognition, 26–11: 1725–36, 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    J. Eickemeyer, Visualizing p-flats in N-space using Parallel Coordinates. Ph.D. Thesis UCLA, 1992.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    C. Gennings, K. S. Dawson, W. H. Carter, and R. H. Myers, Interpreting plots of a multidimensional dose-response surface in a parallel coordinate systems. Biometrics, 46: 719–35, 1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    C.K. Hung, A New Representation of Surfaces Using Parallel Coordinates. Submitted for Publication, 1996.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    A. Inselberg, N-Dimensional Graphics, Part I - Lines and Hyperplanes, in IBM LASC Tech. Rep. G320–2711, 140 pages. IBM LA Scientific Center, 1981.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    A. Inselberg, The plane with parallel coordinates. Visual Computer, 1: 69–97, 1985.MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    A. Inselberg, Parallel Coordinates: A Guide for the Perplexed, in Hot Topics Proc. of IEEE Conf. on Visualization, 35–38. IEEE Comp. Soc., Los Alamitos, CA, 1996.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    A. Inselberg and B. Dimsdale, Parallel Coordinates: A Tool For Visualizing Multidimensional Geometry, in Proc. of IEEE Conf. on Vis. ‘80, 361–378. IEEE Comp. Soc., Los Alamitos, CA, 1990.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    A. Inselberg and B. Dimsdale, Multidimensional lines i: Representation. SIAM J. of Applied Math., 54–2: 559–577, 1994.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    A. Inselberg and B. Dimsdale, Multidimensional lines ii: Proximity and applications. SIAM J. of Applied Math., 54–2: 578–596, 1994.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    A. Inselberg, M. Reif, and T. Chomut, Convexity algorithms in parallel coordinates. J. ACM, 34: 765–801, 1987.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    B. H. Mccormick, T. A. Defanti, and M. D. Brown, Visualization in Scientific Computing. Computer Graphics 21–6, ACM SIGGRAPH, New York, 1987.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    E. R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Graphic Press, Connecticut, 1983.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    E. R. Tufte, Envisioning Information. Graphic Press, Connecticut, 1990.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfred Inselberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Multidimensional Graphs LtdRaananaIsrael

Personalised recommendations