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Research Papers

An Experimental Study of Continuous and Discrete Visualization Paradigms for Interactive Trade Space Exploration

[+] Author and Article Information
Brian J. German, Karen M. Feigh

Assistant Professor

Matthew J. Daskilewicz

Graduate Research Assistant
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30332

Contributed by the Computers and Information Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering. Manuscript received April 29, 2012; final manuscript received February 16, 2013; published online April 22, 2013. Editor: Bahram Ravani.

J. Comput. Inf. Sci. Eng 13(2), 021004 (Apr 22, 2013) (12 pages) Paper No: JCISE-12-1070; doi: 10.1115/1.4023857 History: Received April 29, 2012; Revised February 16, 2013

Software tools that enable interactive data visualization are now commonly available for engineering design. These tools allow engineers to inspect, filter, and select promising alternatives from large multivariate design spaces based upon an examination of the tradeoffs between multiple objectives. There are two general approaches for visually representing data: (1) discretely, by plotting a sample of designs as distinct points; and (2) continuously, by plotting the functional relationships between design variables and design metrics as curves or surfaces. In this paper, we examine these two approaches through a human subjects experiment. Participants were asked to complete two design tasks with an interactive visualization tool: one by using a sample of discrete designs and one by using a continuous representation of the design space. Metrics describing the optimality of the design outcomes, the usage of different graphics, and the task workload were quantified by mouse tracking, user process descriptions, and analysis of the selected designs. The results indicate that users had more difficultly in selecting multiobjective optimal designs with common continuous graphics than with discrete graphics. The findings suggest that innovative features and additional usability studies are required in order for continuous trade space visualization tools to achieve their full potential.

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Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Topics: Design , Visualization
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Figures

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Fig. 1

Discrete visualization workspace for the turbofan training task

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Fig. 2

Continuous visualization workspace for the turbofan training task

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Fig. 3

Impact of visualization type on the participant's ability to achieve the type of design outcome they attempted

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Fig. 4

Total time spent interacting with the visualization workspace

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Fig. 5

Time spent interacting with each graphic in the discrete version of the visualization workspace

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Fig. 6

Time spent interacting with each graphic in the continuous version of the visualization workspace

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Fig. 7

Time spent in the prediction profiler plot by trial order

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Fig. 8

Correlation of recolor usage with the level of optimality in the resultant design

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