Visualizing Big Data Outliers through Distributed Aggregation

IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph. 2018 Jan;24(1):256-266. doi: 10.1109/TVCG.2017.2744685. Epub 2017 Aug 29.


Visualizing outliers in massive datasets requires statistical pre-processing in order to reduce the scale of the problem to a size amenable to rendering systems like D3, Plotly or analytic systems like R or SAS. This paper presents a new algorithm, called hdoutliers, for detecting multidimensional outliers. It is unique for a) dealing with a mixture of categorical and continuous variables, b) dealing with big-p (many columns of data), c) dealing with big-n (many rows of data), d) dealing with outliers that mask other outliers, and e) dealing consistently with unidimensional and multidimensional datasets. Unlike ad hoc methods found in many machine learning papers, hdoutliers is based on a distributional model that allows outliers to be tagged with a probability. This critical feature reduces the likelihood of false discoveries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.