Computing new data attributes

During validating and preparing your data you might find that you need to modify your variables (such as creating totals or adjusting the range). Furthermore, you might find during exploration that the calculation of a KPI is of value or that you want to apply other transformations (such as time alignment or moving averages). Lastly, you might find that more sophisticated enrichments such as numbering cycles or dynamic value expectations are necessary.

All these computations can be generated dynamically from within Visplore. A formula editor supports everything from typing simple arithmetic formulas, to powerful Python 3 scripts. Optionally, there are several built-in formula blocks ready to use.

Intro new attribute process

Preparation (to follow this lesson using demo data)

For the tutorial, load the solar power demo dataset from the welcome dialog, as shown below.   



Create a new numerical time series

As a simple example we create a new numerical time series that contains derived values from another time series (inverted in this case).

1. Select the first time series "A_Phase_Voltage_BrightCounty_PV" in the "Statistics" view by clicking its name. This will be the input to the newly computed time series.

2. Then, click "New data attribute" in the toolbar.

3. Select "Numeric data attribute" from the dialog. Alternatively, a categorical attribute can be created using the same workflow, which you can try out later. Press "OK".

Create new numeric data attribute

The next dialog is the formula editor. These are the most important elements:

  • Inputs: the new attribute is computed from these input data attributes. As we had selected a time series in the cockpit before, it is automatically listed here. Use the '+' and '-' icons to add/remove inputs. Each input is referred to as a variable when defining the computation. The variable can be renamed if desired. Here, the variable is called "i".
  • Result: the result of the computation must be written to an output variable. The name of the output variable can be changed as well. Here, it is "result".
  • Script: this is the computation to be performed. You can use Python 3 code here, but Python knowledge is not necessary (see many examples below). The input variables, as well as the output variable are numpy arrays of the length of the current Visplore table.

    The idea of the script is to compute something from the input arrays, and write the result to the output array variable - see the example in the image.

  • Compute: This button executes the script and reports syntax errors, if any.
Visplore formular editor

Our first computation is to invert the sign of the values. In other words, multiplying the values by -1. Click in the "Script" field, and type: result = i * (-1)

Click "Compute" and then "OK"

The next dialog is for naming the new attribute. For now, accept the suggested name, and press "OK".

Visplore formular naming dialog

The cockpit updates. You see how the new attribute "A_Phase_Voltage_BrightCounty_PV * (-1)" has appeared in the list.

Use the checkmark to select "A_Phase_Voltage_BrightCounty_PV * (-1)" in the "Statistics" view. Now, you see the new and the original time series at the same time:

Trends and distributions dashboard with new data attribute


Compute the sum of two inputs

Our next data attribute will be computing the point-wise sum of two time series.

1. Select "Power_Generation_Cloudington_PV" and "Power_Generation_Eastwood_PV" in the "Statistics" view as shown below.

2. Then again, click "New data attribute"

3. Click "Numeric data attribute".

Create new numeric data attribute from two variables

In the dialog, click in the "Script" field and type: result = i_1 + i_2. Confirm by pressing "Compute" and "OK", and "OK" in the naming dialog.

Visplore formular editor with two variables

The cockpit updates. When you select the new attribute "Power_Generation_Cloudington_PV + Power_Generation_Eastwood_PV" as third time series, and zoom in a bit (drag right mouse button), Visplore looks like this:

Trends and distributions dashboard with new data attribute (sum)

Editing a computation afterwards

You can change the script of a computed data attribute later on. For example, if you discover you made a mistake in the formula, or you want to tweak some parameters based on what you saw in the visualization.

Make sure, the computed attribute "Power_Generation_Cloudington_PV + Power_Generation_Eastwood_PV" is selected in the "Statistics" view, then press the blue icon with the gearwheel in the toolbar:

Edit computated data attribute

Now say we want to change the script, as to use the absolute value of the variables before summing them up. For this, we can use one of the built-in formula parts offered at the right side of the dialog:

In the "Script" field, delete i_1 from the formula as to look like the image below. Then, hover the word "Abs" in the list of formula parts on the right, and press the right icon with the green arrow, to insert the formula part for taking absolute values.

Use functions in Visplore formula editor

Do the same to take absolutes of i_2 in the script as well. You may have to adjust the script by hand, as the built-in formula editor always writes i_1. It should look like this:

Script using abs function

Press "Compute" to validate the correctness of the script.

Whenever you edit the script, and press "Compute", the visualizations immediately update with the new values. With this, experimenting with the script and tweaking parameters becomes very efficient.

Try out another change: simply replace the + in the formula by typing a * instead, to perform multiplication instead of summation. When pressing "Compute", see how Visplore updates.

Script using abs function modified

Change it back to a '+', as we actually wanted a summation of absolutes, and press "Compute" again.

Important: Now press "Apply" to close the dialog, and thereby confirm the changes you made to the attribute. Pressing "Discard" would discard all changes we made in the dialog, leaving the attribute as before.



Formula examples

Here is a list of some formulas that may be helpful. Experiment a bit with them, and try to create some of your own. If you want to skip this now, continue to next section.

Examples of simple formulas typed by hand:
Duplicate to use attribute under different nameresult = i
Difference of two attributesresult = i_1 - i_2
Division of two attributesresult = i_1 / i_2
Point-wise average of three attributesresult = (i_1 + i_2 + i_3) / 3
Point-wise squareresult = i * i

Examples of built-in formulas (use the button next to a built-in formula for detailed info about parameters):

Moving averageresult = MovingAverage(i, window=10, windowtype="datarecords", symmetric=True, order=i_order)
First derivativeresult = Derive(i, order=i_order, method="centraldifferences")
Time-shift by constant value (here: 2 hours)result = TimeShift(i, axis=i_order, shift=datetime.timedelta(hours=2))
Time-shift to maximize correlation with other attributeresult = AutoAlign(i_1, basevector=i_2, axis=i_order, maxshiftleft=100, maxshiftright=0)
Uniform binning (produces a categorical data attribute)result = UniformBinning(i, num_bins=10)

Remember: you can technically use any Python 3 script in here, including loops, if-statements and others. Combining Python with built-in formulas is also possible.

Also see: Important examples for computing variables.



Binning of values - create a categorical time series

You can use uniform binning to put numerical attributes into categorical groups. This is useful if you are not interested in the precise value e.g. 32.67 but rather that it is between 30 and 40. For this you can use the built-in formula "UniformBinning" with the approximate number of bins (approximate because it will use a clever method to create meaningful boundaries, e.g. integer values, and zero if it is contained...).

Select "Wind_Speed_Happyville_Weather" in the "Statistics" view

Then click on "New data attribute" and select "Categorical data attribute"

Create a new categorical data attribute with binned values

In the formula dialog click on "UniformBinning" and adjust the number of bins to create a binning with approximately 5 bins. Confirm by pressing "Compute" and "OK", and "OK" in the naming dialog.

Formula editor for binned values

Note: you can also create a Date/Time attribute, e.g. to combine a date and time from two separate attributes into one that can be used in Visplore. For this create a new Date/time data attribute, add your two inputs with the plus sign and use the formula "result = CombineDatetime(dates=i_1, times=i_2)".

Note: to generate logical (binary true/false) variables to indicate e.g. high wind events you can use so called conditions, by selecting the wind attribute as before, clicking on "New condition" and entering a condition such as "result = i > 14" to highlight high wind events larger than 14m/s. You can now put your new condition in focus. Also see: Defining new conditions for details.

Great! You can now perform simple calculations on your variables of different type such as numerical, categorical, time series and conditions.




>> Continue with Next lesson: Defining conditions




License Statement for the Photovoltaic and Weather dataset used for Screenshots:
"Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0."
Source of Dataset (in its original form): https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/photovoltaic--pv--solar-panel-energy-generation-data
License: UK Open Government Licence OGL 3: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/
Dataset was modified (e.g. columns renamed) for easier communication of Visplore USPs.