Support vector machines (SVMs) are supervised learning models traditionally employed for classification and regression analysis. In classification analysis, a set of training data is chosen, and each instance in the training data is assigned a categorical class. An SVM then constructs a model based on a separating plane that maximizes the margin between different classes. Despite being one of the most popular classification models because of its strong performance empirically, understanding the knowledge captured in an SVM remains difficult. SVMs are typically applied in a black-box manner where the details of parameter tuning, training, and even the final constructed model are hidden from the users. This is natural since these details are often complex and difficult to understand without proper visualization tools. However, such an approach often brings about various problems including trial-and-error tuning and suspicious users who are forced to trust these models blindly. The contribution of this paper is a visual analysis approach for building SVMs in an open-box manner. Our goal is to improve an analyst’s understanding of the SVM modeling process through a suite of visualization techniques that allow users to have full interactive visual control over the entire SVM training process. Our visual exploration tools have been developed to enable intuitive parameter tuning, training data manipulation, and rule extraction as part of the SVM training process. To demonstrate the efficacy of our approach, we conduct a case study using a real-world robot control dataset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-175
Number of pages15
JournalComputational Visual Media
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • high-dimensional visualization
  • rule extraction
  • support vector machines (SVMs)
  • visual analysis
  • visual classification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Artificial Intelligence


Dive into the research topics of 'EasySVM: A visual analysis approach for open-box support vector machines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this