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Geodesic SOM: a spherical Self-Organizing Map


The investigation of new data structures and learning algorithms to improve a Self-Organizing Map for the purpose of Visual Analytics.


Associate Professor Masahiro Takatsuka.

Research location

Computer Science

Program type



A Self-Organizing Map is a type of Artificial Neural Networks and has been primarily used for 1) Associative Memory and 2) Data Visualization. In either case, the main function of the SOM is to model multivariate data.  This modelling corresponds to learning the statistical structure of the multivariate data in a much simpler form (typically in a 2D space).  During this process, the SOM will try to keep the topological structure of the original data as much as possible.  Hence, it achieves its non-linear topological mapping from the high-dimensional space to the much lower (typically 2D) space. With this topological mapping capability, it allows us to visualize complex high-dimensional data structures. Although the original form of the SOM does provide a useful visualization mechanism to a certain extent, it falls short of requirements in Visual Analytics.  Visual Analytics is an emerging discipline, and it aims to utilize Visualization and User Interfaces in order to improve an Analytical Reasoning process.  

This project investigates new data structures and algorithms to significantly improve SOMs visualization capability for the purpose of Visual Analytics.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 386

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