skip to main content

Title: A Visual Analytics Approach to Structured Data Analysis to Enhance Nonproliferation and Arms Control Verification Activities

Analysis activities for Nonproliferation and Arms Control verification require the use of many types of data. Tabular structured data, such as Excel spreadsheets and relational databases, have traditionally been used for data mining activities, where specific queries are issued against data to look for matching results. The application of visual analytics tools to structured data enables further exploration of datasets to promote discovery of previously unknown results. This paper discusses the application of a specific visual analytics tool to datasets related to the field of Arms Control and Nonproliferation to promote the use of visual analytics more broadly in this domain. Visual analytics focuses on analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive visual interfaces (Wong and Thomas 2004). It promotes exploratory analysis of data, and complements data mining technologies where known patterns can be mined for. Also with a human in the loop, they can bring in domain knowledge and subject matter expertise. Visual analytics has not widely been applied to this domain. In this paper, we will focus on one type of data: structured data, and show the results of applying a specific visual analytics tool to answer questions in the Arms Control and Nonproliferation domain. We chose to use themore » T.Rex tool, a visual analytics tool developed at PNNL, which uses a variety of visual exploration patterns to discover relationships in structured datasets, including a facet view, graph view, matrix view, and timeline view. The facet view enables discovery of relationships between categorical information, such as countries and locations. The graph tool visualizes node-link relationship patterns, such as the flow of materials being shipped between parties. The matrix visualization shows highly correlated categories of information. The timeline view shows temporal patterns in data. In this paper, we will use T.Rex with two different datasets to demonstrate how interactive exploration of the data can aid an analyst with arms control and nonproliferation verification activities. Using a dataset from PIERS (PIERS 2014), we will show how container shipment imports and exports can aid an analyst in understanding the shipping patterns between two countries. We will also use T.Rex to examine a collection of research publications from the IAEA International Nuclear Information System (IAEA 2014) to discover collaborations of concern. We hope this paper will encourage the use of visual analytics structured data analytics in the field of nonproliferation and arms control verification. Our paper outlines some of the challenges that exist before broad adoption of these kinds of tools can occur and offers next steps to overcome these challenges.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Resource Relation:
Conference: INMM Information Analysis Technologies, Techniques and Methods for Safeguards, Nonproliferation and Arms Control Verification Conference, May 12-14, 2014, Portland, Oregon, 121-133
Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, Deerfield, IL, United States(US).
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
visual analytics; nonproliferation; arms control; t.rex; trex