The Tioga Project
The Tioga Project began during the Sequoia 2000 Project. The Tioga Project first developed a system called Tioga, which adopts the "boxes and arrows" programming paradigm popularized by programs such as AVS, Khoros, and Data Explorer. In Tioga, every box is a user-defined function which has been registered in the POSTGRES database management system. Every Tioga program contains a viewer which displays the program's output. An expert programmer writes the viewer, which encodes information about how objects will be displayed. The default viewer provides pan and zoom features with which the end user can fly over the canvas viewing areas of interest. Additionally, Tioga includes a layer manager which allows end users to specify the elevations at which different displays are valid.
A running prototype of Tioga was completed in 1993. A companion commercial product, OK, was also produced. End users responded positively to the panning and zooming model and to the layer manager. However, end users were frustrated that the visualizations shown in the viewer could only be customized by modifications to complex programs.
This experience prompted us to design a tool which would allow end users to directly manipulate visualizations. This tool, DataSplash (formerly known as Tioga-2), preserves much of the navigational model of the original Tioga. However, it incorporates a paint program interface with which end users can create and modify visualizations.
The Tioga project is currently investigating a number of issues related to database visualization, including:
Members of the Tioga project are faculty, staff, and students of the Database Research Group of the Computer Science Division, Dept. of EECS at the University of California at Berkeley. Faculty members of the group are Michael Stonebraker and Alexander Aiken. We also have a lot of interesting discussions with Joe Hellerstein and James Landay. Current students include Vuk Ercegovac, Chris Olston, Mybrid Spalding, and Allison Woodruff.
To learn more about Tioga and Tioga DataSplash, refer to the following papers:
Allison Woodruff, James Landay, and Michael Stonebraker. Constant Information Density in Zoomable Interfaces. Proceedings of Advanced Visual Interfaces '98, pages 57-65, L'Aquila, Italy, May 1998. [PS] [PDF]
Allison Woodruff, James Landay, and Michael Stonebraker. Goal-Directed Zoom. SIGCHI '98 Summary, pages 305-6, Los Angeles, April 1998. [PS] [PDF]
Allison Woodruff and Michael Stonebraker. Supporting Fine-Grained Data Lineage in a Database Visualization Environment. Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Data Engineering, pages 91-102, Birmingham, England, April 1997. [PS] [PDF]
Alexander Aiken, Jolly Chen, Michael Stonebraker, and Allison Woodruff. Tioga-2: A Direct Manipulation Database Visualization Environment. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Data Engineering, pages 208-17, New Orleans, LA, February 1996. [PS] [PDF]
Alexander Aiken, Jolly Chen, Mark Lin, Mybrid Spalding, Michael Stonebraker, and Allison Woodruff. The Tioga-2 Database Visualization Environment. Database Issues for Data Visualization (Proceedings of the IEEE Visualization '95 Workshop, Atlanta, GA, USA, October 1995), Wierse, Grinstein, and Land (Eds.), Springer-Verlag, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Vol. 1183), 1996. [PS] [PDF]
Allison Woodruff and Michael Stonebraker. Buffering of Intermediate Results in Dataflow Diagrams. Proceedings of the 11th IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages, pages 187-194, Darmstadt, Germany, September 1995. [PS] [PDF]
Allison Woodruff, Alan Su, Michael Stonebraker, Caroline Paxson, Jolly Chen, Alexander Aiken, Peter Wisnovsky, and Cimarron Taylor. Navigation and Coordination Primitives for Multidimensional Browsers. Visual Database Systems 3: Visual Information Management (Proceedings of the 3rd IFIP 2.6 Working Conference on Visual Database Systems, Lausanne, Switzerland, March 1995), pages 360-371, Stefano Spaccapietra and Ramesh Jain (Eds.), Chapman & Hall, 1995. [PS] [PDF]
Allison Woodruff, Peter Wisnovsky, Cimarron Taylor, Alan Su, Michael Stonebraker, Caroline Paxson, Jolly Chen, and Alexander Aiken. Zooming and Tunneling in Tioga: Supporting Navigation in Multidimensional Space. Proceedings of the 10th IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages, pages 191-193, St. Louis, MO, USA, October 1994. [PS] [PDF]
Michael Stonebraker, Jolly Chen, Nobuko Nathan, Caroline Paxson, Alan Su, and Jiang Wu. Tioga: A database-oriented visualization tool. Proceedings of the IEEE '93 Visualization Conference, San Jose, CA, USA, October 1993, pages 86-93, G.M. Nielson and D. Bergeron (Eds.), IEEE Comput. Soc. Press, Los Alamitos, CA, USA, 1993. [PS] [PDF]
Michael Stonebraker, Jolly Chen, Nobuko Nathan, Caroline Paxson, and Jiang Wu. Tioga: Providing Data Management Support for Scientific Visualization Applications. Proceedings of the 19th Conference on Very Large Data Bases, pages 25-38, Dublin, Ireland, 1993. [PS] [PDF]
The Tioga project is sponsored by NSF under grant IRI-9400773 and grant IRI-9411334.
While developing browsers for exploring data is a relatively new research area, the literature is already substantial. This section surveys a cross-section of related work.
Many browsing systems are based on a ``paradigm''. A classic example is the Fisheye interface, which magnifies data in the center of focus to a greater degree than data at the periphery [Sark94]. Another example is Magic Lenses, which provides a set of primitive lenses (windows akin to our magnifying glasses) that can be placed over data and over each other to modify a visualization [Bier93]. While we find paradigms appealing, we suspect a flaw in the assumption that the space of possible visualizations can or must be greatly restricted in advance. (In fairness, Magic Lenses is not intended strictly as a browsing paradigm, but as a general user interface paradigm.) In our experience, paradigms serve a class of users well and frustrate users with other applications. To be generally useful---as DataSplash (formerly known as Tioga-2) aims to be---it is important that users be able to construct arbitrary ad hoc visualizations of their own, even inventing their own paradigms if necessary. In short, visualizations should be as programmable as possible.
A different approach has been taken by the ambitious Pad project [Perl93]. In Pad, all data lives on a two-dimensional plane. As in our system, every entity (an object in Pad, a tuple in DataSplash) has a position and ``knows'' how to draw itself. Pad also provides facilities for overlay and drill down that are in some ways richer than the facilities in DataSplash. Pad allows a very large class of visualizations to be built. However, Pad is not end-user programmable; it is designed as a toolkit for expert programmers and provides a traditional programming interface.
Within the area of browsers for databases, the work of Krishnamurthy and Zloof on Rendering By Example (RBE) is closely related to our own. In particular, RBE shares our view on the importance of a system that is both highly programmable and easy to program [Kris95]. RBE provides a more declarative programming interface than DataSplash, but RBE can construct a much less general class of visualizations.
Sagebrush [Roth94] is a data visualization system developed at CMU that shares DataSplash's approach to visualization programming. As in DataSplash, Sagebrush users can make the display of primitive objects dependent on data values. The assignment of display functions to screen objects is also done by direct manipulation, as in DataSplash. It is interesting to note that the Sagebrush and Tioga designs were developed completely independently. At present, the DataSplash programming interface encompasses the major programming features of Sagebrush, and DataSplash provides features (e.g., layers and the layer manager, previously published in the literature as overlays and the elevation map) not found in Sagebrush. Sagebrush also provides a facility for the automatic design of visualizations, a feature we have so far elected not to include as part of DataSplash.
[Bier93] E. Bier, M. Stone, K. Pier, W. Buxton, and T. DeRose. Toolglass and magic lenses: The see-through interface. Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH 1993, pages 73-80, Anaheim, CA, August 1993.
[Kris95] R. Krishamurthy and M. Zloof. RBE: Rendering by example. Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Data Engineeering, pages 288-297, Taipei, Taiwan, March 1995.
[Roth94] S.F. Roth, J. Kolojejchick, J. Mattis, and J. Goldstein. Interactive Graphic Design Using Automatic Presentation Knowledge. Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (SIGCHI '94), pages 112-117, Boston, MA, April 1994. [HTML]
[Perl93] K. Perlin and D. Fox. Pad: An alternative approach to the computer interface. Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH 1993, pages 57-64, Anaheim, CA, August 1993. [HTML]
[Sark94] M. Sarkar and M. Sarkar. Graphical
fisheye views. Communications of the ACM,
pages 73-84, December 1994.
While the following list is by no means comprehensive, it contains references to some interesting related projects, products, literature, and web sites.
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