Thursday, October 20, 2016

Stemgraphic, a new visualization tool

PyData Carolinas 2016

At PyData Carolinas 2016 I presented the talk Stemgraphic: A Stem-and-Leaf Plot for the Age of Big Data.


The stem-and-leaf plot is one of the most powerful tools not found in a data scientist or statistician’s toolbox. If we go back in time thirty some years we find the exact opposite. What happened to the stem-and-leaf plot? Finding the answer led me to design and implement an improved graphical version of the stem-and-leaf plot, as a python package. As a companion to the talk, a printed research paper was provided to the audience (a PDF is now available through

The talk

Thanks to the organizers of PyData Carolinas, videos of all the talks and tutorials have been posted on youtube. In just 30 minutes, this is a great way to learn more about stemgraphic and the history of the stem-and-leaf plot for EDA work. This updated version does include the animated intro sequence, but unfortunately the sound was recorded from the microphone, and not the mixer. You can see the intro sequence in higher audio and video quality on the main page of the website below.

I've created a web site for stemgraphic, as I'll be posting some tutorials and demo some of the more advanced features, particularly as to how stemgraphic can be used in a data science pipeline, as a data wrangling tool, as an intermediary to big data on HDFS, as a visual validation for building models and as a superior distribution plot, particularly when faced with non uniform distributions or distributions showing a high degree of skewness (long tails).

Github Repo

Francois Dion

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