The Data Handbook
-26 %

The Data Handbook

A Guide to Understanding the Organization and Visualization of Technical Data
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Brand Fortner
713 g
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I introduction.- Five Researchers and Their Data.- Judy ReSyrch-Fan Simulation.- Michael Astroe-FITS Data.- Dr. Tim Boans-MRI Scans.- Jeanne Beeker-Solubility Experiments.- Wolfram Herth-Ground Water Information.- Important Questions to Answer.- How Are the Numbers Stored?.- How Is the Data Organized?.- What Is the Dimensionality of the Data.- Is the Data on a Grid?.- What Is the Best Way to Analyze the Data?.- II Numbers in Computers.- 1. An Overview of Numbers in Computers.- Turning Data into Numbers.- Storing Numbers on Computers.- Binary Numbers and ASCII Text Numbers.- Evaluating Number Formats.- 2. Byte Numbers.- Bits and Bytes.- Unsigned Bytes.- Signed Bytes.- Twos-Complement vs. Ones-Complement.- Hexadecimal Representation.- Octal Numbers.- Kilobytes and Megabytes.- Byte Numbers: Advantages and Pitfalls.- Computational Resources.- Range of Values.- Numerical Precision.- Calculations with Bytes.- Portability.- Summary.- 3. Integers and Fixed-Point Numbers.- Short Integers and Long Integers.- Fixed-Point Numbers.- Range of Values.- Numerical Precision.- Calculations.- Truncation Error.- Calculations: The Right Way.- Byte Order.- Integers and Fixed-Point: Advantages and Pitfalls.- Computational Resources.- Range of Values.- Numerical Precision.- Calculations with Integers.- Portability.- Summary.- 4. Floating-Point Numbers.- Single-Precision Floating-Point.- Binary Fractional Numbers.- Decoding a Floating-Point Number.- Normalized Numbers.- VAX Floating-Point.- Single-Precision Range of Values.- Numerical Precision of Single-Precision Floats.- Problems with Floating-Point Calculations.- The Mystery of the Vanishing Significant Digits.- The Case of Almost-Equal Numbers.- The Trouble with Floating-Point Comparisons.- A Bevy of Roundoff Errors.- The Riddle of the Stairstep Graph.- Special Floating-Point Values.- Zero.- NaN.- INF.- Denormalized Numbers.- Additional Floating-Point Formats.- Double-Precision Floating-Point Numbers.- Complex Numbers.- Extended Formats.- Floating-Point: Advantages and Pitfalls.- Computational Resources.- FPUs.- MIPS and MFLOPS.- Range of Values.- Numerical Precision.- Calculations with Floating-Point Numbers.- Portability.- Summary.- 5. ASCII Text Numbers.- ASCII Characters.- Control Characters.- Foreign Languages.- ASCII Text Strings.- ASCII Numbers.- Exponential Notation ASCII Numbers.- Separating Numbers-ASCII Delimiters.- Space, Tab, and Comma as Delimiters.- Storing a Position but Not a Number.- Fixed Format Delimited Files.- Delimited Files-Summary.- ASCII Line Separators.- Additional Binary vs. ASCII Text Issues.- Binary vs. ASCII Text File Transfers.- Character Encoded Binary.- Binary Coded Decimal.- NFS Mounts.- ASCII Text: Advantages and Pitfalls.- Computational Resources.- Range of Values.- Numerical Precision.- Calculations with ASCII Text.- Portability.- Summary.- III The Data Universe.- 6. A Map of the Data Universe.- Data Values, Locations, and Descriptions.- Defining Data Location.- Independent Variables and Dependent Variables.- U.S. Weather Example.- The Dimensionality of Data.- Adding a Dimension.- Organizing Data Storage.- Column Data.- 2D Matrix Data.- 3D Matrix Data.- Polygonal Data.- Summary.- 7. Column Data.- Column Datafiles on Disk.- Text String Columns.- Visualizing Column Data.- Linegraphs and Bar Charts.- Scatter Plots and Parametric Plots.- Parametric Plots vs. Linegraphs.- 3D Scatter Plots.- Beyond Three Dimensions.- An Observation on Good Graphs.- Summary.- 8. 2D Matrix Data.- 2D Matrix Datafiles on Disk.- An Example of a 2D Matrix Datafile.- ASCII Text and Binary 2D Matrix Datafiles.- Row-Major vs. Column-Major Order.- Images as 2D Matrix Datafiles.- Advantages of 2D Matrix Datafiles.- 2D Matrix Grids.- Uniform Grids and No Grids.- Non-Uniform Grids.- Warped Grids.- Sparse Grids.- The Dimensionality of 2D Matrix Data.- 2D Matrix Files as Column Files.- Column Files as 2D Matrix Files.- Visualizing 2D Matrix Data.- Color Raster Imaging.- Surface Plots.- Contour
"What our teachers don't tell us in school is that we will spend most of our scientific or engineering career in front of computers, trying to beat them into submission." This extract from the Preface sets the style for this highly readable book. It is packed with information covering data representations, the pitfalls of computer arithmetic, and a variety of widely-used representations and standards. Each chapter begins with a detailed contents list and finishes with a brief summary of the topics presented and the whole is rounded off with a glossary and index.Novices will enjoy an occasionally lighthearted read from start to finish, while even the most experienced computer users who use the book as a reference will discover useful nuggets of information.
A structured array of data sets are available online via the TELOS Web site,, which will provide users with direct digital access to information they might need in working through the book.