VisTrails: Enabling interactive multiple-view visualizations

Louis Bavoil, Steven P. Callahan, Patricia J. Crossno, Juliana Freire, Carlos E. Scheidegger, Cláudio T. Silva, Huy T. Vo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


VisTrails is a new system that enables interactive multiple-view visualizations by simplifying the creation and maintenance of visualization pipelines, and by optimizing their execution. It provides a general infrastructure that can be combined with existing visualization systems and libraries. A key component of VisTrails is the visualization trail (vistrail), a formal specification of a pipeline. Unlike existing dataflow-based systems, in VisTrails there is a clear separation between the specification of a pipeline and its execution instances. This separation enables powerful scripting capabilities and provides a scalable mechanism for generating a large number of visualizations. VisTrails also leverages the vistrail specification to identify and avoid redundant operations. This optimization is especially useful while exploring multiple visualizations. When variations of the same pipeline need to be executed, substantial speedups can be obtained by caching the results of overlapping subsequences of the pipelines. In this paper, we describe the design and implementation of VisTrails, and show its effectiveness in different application scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVIS 05
Subtitle of host publicationIEEE Visualization 2005, Proceedings
Number of pages1
StatePublished - 2005
EventVIS 05: IEEE Visualization 2005, Proceedings - Minneapolis, MN, United States
Duration: Oct 23 2005Oct 28 2005

Publication series

NameProceedings of the IEEE Visualization Conference


OtherVIS 05: IEEE Visualization 2005, Proceedings
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMinneapolis, MN


  • Caching
  • Coordinated views
  • Dataflow
  • Interrogative visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • General Computer Science
  • General Engineering
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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