Treesta, a Performance Support System in Statistical Analysis
Treesta is a system intended to support statistical analysis, with a focus on analysis of variance (ANOVA). The main functionality of existing statistical packages, such as Matlab and SPSS, is a rich set of statistical functions, which provides different tests, and transformations, making it possible for analysts to analyze their datasets without getting caught up in complicated calculations. But when it comes to organizing the work, and supporting creativity in data analysis, the furthest they go is to present a linear history of the user's activity along with date and time. Treesta is a text-based interface that stands between the user and Matlab, and serves as an organizational, as well as representational, tool for statistical analysis. It categorizes the user's work into workspaces, building a tree. Each space has its own variables, figures, and history. Spaces are organized into parent/child relations, with children inheriting variables from their parent. Each space can be assigned a meaningful name and some notes containing things the analyst wants to say about that space (e.g. the reason for a certain action). Since the user can branch to a new child any time, he/she can follow and ultimately compare multiple simultaneous solutions. Treesta provides a representation of the whole environment, highlighting the relationships among spaces, as well as a summary for each space. It also provides services like replaying a certain portion of history, which allows the analyst to apply similar functions on different data.