Self-Organizing Maps for Multi-Objective Pareto Frontiers


Decision makers often need to take into account multiple conflicting objectives when selecting a solution for their problem. This can result in a potentially large number of candidate solutions to be considered. Visualizing a Pareto Frontier, the optimal set of solutions to a multi-objective problem, is considered a difficult task when the problem at hand spans more than three objective functions. We introduce a novel visual-interactive approach to facilitate coping with multi-objective problems. We propose a characterization of the Pareto Frontier data and the tasks decision makers face as they reach their decisions. Following a comprehensive analysis of the design alternatives, we show how a semantically-enhanced Self-Organizing Map, can be utilized to meet the identified tasks. We argue that our newly proposed design provides both consistent orientation of the 2D mapping as well as an appropriate visual representation of individual solutions. We then demonstrate its applicability with two real-world multi-objective case studies. We conclude with a preliminary empirical evaluation and a qualitative usefulness assessment.