Approximated and User Steerable tSNE for Progressive Visual Analytics

A key method for data analysis is dimensionality reduction, for example, to produce 2D embeddings that can be visualized and analyzed efficiently. t-Distributed Stochastic Neighbor Embedding (tSNE) is a well-suited technique for the visualization of several high-dimensional data. tSNE can create meaningful intermediate results but suffers from a slow initialization that constrains its application in a fully Visual Analytics workflow. In this work, we introduce a controllable tSNE approximation (A-tSNE), which trades off speed and accuracy, to enable interactive data exploration. We offer real-time visualization techniques, including a density-based solution and a Magic Lens to inspect the degree of approximation. With this feedback, the user can decide on local refinements and steer the approximation level during the analysis. We demonstrate our technique with several datasets, in a real-world research scenario and for the real-time analysis of high-dimensional streams to illustrate its effectiveness for interactive data analysis.

Associated Researchers

  • Nicola Pezzotti
  • Boudewijn P. F. Lelieveldt
  • Laurens van der Maaten (TU Delft)
  • Thomas Höllt
  • Elmar Eisemann (TU Delft)
  • Anna Vilanova (TU Delft)


  • Nicola Pezzotti, Boudewijn P.F. Lelieveldt, Laurens van der Maaten, Thomas Höllt, Elmar Eisemann, Anna Vilanova. Approximated and User Steerable tSNE for Progressive Visual Analytics. arXiv:1512.01655