HiPiler: Visual Exploration Of Large Genome Interaction Matrices With Interactive Small Multiples

Benjamin Bach, Fritz Lekschas, Peter Kerpedjiev, Nils Gehlenborg, Hanspeter Pfister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents an interactive visualization interface-HiPiler-for the exploration and visualization of regions-of-interest in large genome interaction matrices. Genome interaction matrices approximate the physical distance of pairs of regions on the genome to each other and can contain up to 3 million rows and columns with many sparse regions. Regions of interest (ROIs) can be defined, e.g., by sets of adjacent rows and columns, or by specific visual patterns in the matrix. However, traditional matrix aggregation or pan-and-zoom interfaces fail in supporting search, inspection, and comparison of ROIs in such large matrices. In HiPiler, ROIs are first-class objects, represented as thumbnail-like “snippets”. Snippets can be interactively explored and grouped or laid out automatically in scatterplots, or through dimension reduction methods. Snippets are linked to the entire navigable genome interaction matrix through brushing and linking. The design of HiPiler is based on a series of semi-structured interviews with 10 domain experts involved in the analysis and interpretation of genome interaction matrices. We describe six exploration tasks that are crucial for analysis of interaction matrices and demonstrate how HiPiler supports these tasks. We report on a user study with a series of data exploration sessions with domain experts to assess the usability of HiPiler as well as to demonstrate respective findings in the data.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Early online date29 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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