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DecisionSite Upgraded

Interactive curve fitting to screen out bad highlights improvements 

By Salvatore Salamone

April 15, 2005 | Visualization specialist, Spotfire Inc., recently introduced DecisionSite 8.1, a significant new version of its software that includes enhancements to analytic, collaborative, and administrative features of the product.

With this release there are more features for capturing, sharing, and communicating analysis across an organization,” says Tobias Lehtipalo, marketing manager at Spotfire. “And there are improvements in usability.

For example, with respect to analytic improvements, Spotfire added interactive curve-fitting, which allows a researcher to quickly view hundreds of dynamically fitted curves from different data sets all at once. The dynamic nature of the curve-fitting feature lets a researcher screen out bad data points or filter data by various criteria. Once this filtering is done, the software automatically refits the curves to the new data sets.

Another analytic feature added to the 8.1 release is improved heat maps, which provide overviews and the ability to spot trends in data sets such as microarray data, where there are many variables.

Spotfire also enhanced some collaborative features of its DecisionSite Posters, which allows researchers to share and collaborate on experimental results. Even though Posters is Web-based, Spotfire added zoom and text search features as well as support for heat maps, bar charts, and pie charts. Additionally, users have more control over what exactly is highlighted in a Posters display. For example, "€œyou might have two visualizations in a Posters [session], but a researcher can give one display more space and can zoom in and get a better view of the details within a particular chart,"€ says Lehtipalo.

Improved Administration Draws Attention

Existing DecisionSite users are looking forward to these and other new features in the 8.1 release. Bill Ladd, vice president of discovery systems at Genstruct Inc., is interested in the improvements like the new curve-fitting features, but he'€™s also interested in the new administrative improvements to the product.

For instance, this release of DecisionSite offers a tighter integration of the DecisionSite login with WindowsTM€™ login. "€œWe have some power users and some casual users," says Ladd. "€œThe login integration is very helpful for the casual users who are not likely to remember their Spotfire DecisionSite password if they only use DecisionSite once in a while."€

Another feature that appeals to Ladd is the ability of the server software to automatically upgrade the clients. "€œYou do not have to touch the client to upgrade [to the new features],"€ says Ladd. "€œEven in a small organization, upgrading individual clients is not a trivial task."

Genstruct is a knowledge-driven drug discovery company that does systems biology work and partners with many large pharmaceutical companies. Its work cuts across discovery, development, and clinical research areas, and it uses DecisionSite in these areas of research. Specifically, DecisionSite is used to aid the underlying data analysis work that is required in all of these research areas.

DecisionSite 8.1 is available now.

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