The Promise & Challenge of Multidimensional Visualization


The fascination with “dimensionality” predates Aristotle. Since the nineteenth century advances in Science and Mathematics unshackled our imagination with higher-dimensional geometries and multidimensional (multivariate) problems. These can now be visualized with a system of Parallel Coordinates. The perceptual barrier imposed by our 3-dimensional habitation has been breached. We describe how this visualization works and demonstrate some of its applications: in air traffic control ([3 patents] collision avoidance), data exploration ([patent] e.g. discovering manipulations in the gold market), modeling complex relations (e.g. interactive visual model of a country’s economy), and new representation of surfaces preferable even for some 3-dimensional applications. Results are first discovered visually and then proven mathematically; in the true spirit of Geometry. Our 3-dimensional experience is now the laboratory for insights into complex high-dimensional situations.


Prof. Alfred Inselberg
School of Mathematical Sciences, Tel Aviv University

Date & Time

1 Dec 2014 (Monday) 11:00 - 12:00


E11-1015 (University of Macau)

Organized by

Department of Computer and Information Science


AI received a Ph.D. in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Illinois (UICU). He was graduate assistant at the Biological Computer Lab (BCL), where research on Brain Function, Cognition and Learning was carried out (coupled to the McCulloch Lab, of Neural Networks fame, at MIT), and continued as Research Prof. From 1966-1995 he was IBM researcher (reaching a rank just below Fellow) at the Los Angeles Scientific Center and later Yorktown Labs. He developed a Mathematical Model of the (Inner) Ear (TIME, Newsweek 1974) concurrently teaching at UCLA and USC. He joined the Technion’s faculty 1971-73, Ben Gurion University 1977-83, and is at Tel Aviv University since 1995. AI was elected Senior Fellow in Visualization at the San Diego Supercomputing Center (1996), Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Korea University (2008) and National University of Singapore (2011). He invented the multidimensional visualization methodology of Parallel Coordinates which has become widely accepted and applied (Air Traffic Control, Data Mining etc). His textbook on the subject, published by Springer, was praised by Stephen Hawking among others.