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The History of ViSta: The Visual Statistics System

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Abstract ViSta is a project that focuses on dynamic and interactive graphics for statistics and was initiated by the late Forrest W. Young at the beginning of the 1990s. For over approximately 20 years, Forrest and other collaborators, including the authors of this article, have used ViSta for experimenting with these kinds of graphics in different settings, applying them to different scenarios of data and statistical analysis, searching to develop the right combination of features most appropriate in each case. In this time, ViSta evolved quite considerably, going through what we reckon were three different stages, namely: the initial one setting forth the foundations of ViSta; the second period where versions 5 and 6 of ViSta were released; and the consolidation period when a book summarizing the lessons learnt in the project was published. This book was titled ‘Visual Statistics: Seeing your data with interactive and dynamic graphics’ and was completed in the last days of life of Forrest, who continued to work enthusiastically in the project even though his health was seriously deteriorating during that time. This article is a tribute to this work, but also describes the innovative features of ViSta, many of which are still relevant today. WIREs Comput Stat 2012, 4:295–306. doi: 10.1002/wics.1203 This article is categorized under: Software for Computational Statistics > Software/Statistical Software

A workmap with icons for data and analysis. Each workmap icon contains small buttons that link plots, summaries and other data displays.

[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

Scatterplot of horsepower and weight of a set of cars.

[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

Spreadplot for Box–Cox transformations. The slider applies a power transformation to a given variable, updating all plots.

[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

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