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Data visualization with multidimensional scaling

By Andreas Buja, Deborah F. Swayne, Michael L. Littman, Nathaniel Dean, Heike Hofmann and Lisha Chen


We discuss methodology for multidimensional scaling (MDS) and its implementation in two software systems, GGvis and XGvis. MDS is a visualization technique for proximity data, that is, data in the form of N × N dissimilarity matrices. MDS constructs maps (“configurations, ” “embeddings”) in IR k by interpreting the dissimilarities as distances. Two frequent sources of dissimilarities are high-dimensional data and graphs. When the dissimilarities are distances between high-dimensional objects, MDS acts as a (often nonlinear) dimension-reduction technique. When the dissimilarities are shortest-path distances in a graph, MDS acts as a graph layout technique. MDS has found recent attention in machine learning motivated by image databases (“Isomap”). MDS is also of interest in view of the popularity of “kernelizing ” approaches inspired by Support Vector Machines (SVMs; “kernel PCA”). This article discusses the following general topics: (1) the stability and multiplicity of MDS solutions; (2) the analysis of structure within and between subsets of objects with missing value schemes in dissimilarity matrices; (3) gradient descent for optimizing general MDS loss functions (“Strain ” and “Stress”); (4) a unification of classica

Year: 2008
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