Visual Progression Analysis of Event Sequence Data


Event sequence data is common to a broad range of application domains, from security to health care to scholarly communication. This form of data captures information about the progression of events for an individual entity (e.g., a computer network device; a patient; an author) in the form of a series of time-stamped observations. Moreover, each event is associated with an event type (e.g., a computer login attempt, or a hospital discharge). Analyses of event sequence data have been shown to help reveal important temporal patterns, such as clinical paths resulting in improved outcomes, or an understanding of common career trajectories for scholars. Moreover, recent research has demonstrated a variety of techniques designed to overcome methodological challenges such as large volumes of data and high dimensionality. However, the effective identification and analysis of latent stages of progression, which can allow for variation within different but similarly evolving event sequences, remain a significant challenge with important real-world motivations. In this paper, we propose an unsupervised stage analysis algorithm to identify semantically meaningful progression stages as well as the critical events which help define those stages. The algorithm follows three key steps: (1) event representation estimation, (2) event sequence warping and alignment, and (3) sequence segmentation. We also present a novel visualization system, ET 2 , which interactively illustrates the results of the stage analysis algorithm to help reveal evolution patterns across stages. Finally, we report three forms of evaluation for ET 2 : (1) case studies with two real-world datasets, (2) interviews with domain expert users, and (3) a performance evaluation on the progression analysis algorithm and the visualization design.

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (Volume 25, Issue 1)