Michael Friendly's

The History of the Cluster Heat Map

  • Leland Wilkinson, Michael Friendly.
  • The History of the Cluster Heat Map.
  • The American Statistician, vol. 63, no. 2, pp. 179–184, 2009.

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The cluster heat map is an ingenious display that simultaneously reveals row and column hierarchical cluster structure in a data matrix. It consists of a rectangular tiling, with each tile shaded on a color scale to represent the value of the corresponding element of the data matrix. The rows (columns) of the tiling are ordered such that similar rows (columns) are near each other. On the vertical and horizontal margins of the tiling are hierarchical cluster trees. This cluster heat map is a synthesis of several different graphic displays developed by statisticians over more than a century. We locate the earliest sources of this display in late 19th century publications, and trace a diverse 20th century statistical literature that provided a foundation for this most widely used of all bioinformatics displays.

  author = {Leland Wilkinson and Michael Friendly},
  title = {The History of the Cluster Heat Map},
  journal = {The American Statistician},
  year = {2009},
  volume = {63},
  number = {2},
  pages = {179–184},
  doi = {10.1198/tas.2009.0033},
  url = {http://datavis.ca/papers/HeatmapHistory-tas.2009.pdf},