Below is my abstract. Please download the PDF to see the entire report.


Phylogeny studies how organisms have evolved over time by combining the organisms into a phylogenetic tree. Branching in a tree represents an evolutionary event leading to two species. Visualization is an important part of phylogeny. Phylogenetic applications output so much data that it is hard for humans to interpret it manually. Therefore, people rely on computers to determine certain characteristics. With visualization tools, people can draw conclusions about large amounts of data instantaneously. Heatmaps are a colorful representation of ranges of values that allow for the visual comparison of multiple attributes simultaneously. Current heatmap programs create a static representation of data. This program allows users to interact with their heatmap, creating a customized viewing experience.

My program takes as input a Robinson Foulds (RF) distance matrix of n x n, where n is the number of trees being compared. Each cell in a matrix is assigned a value based on how different two trees are from each other (a higher number indicates more differences, 0 indicates they are identical). Current heatmap visualizations of the RF distance matrix may list the trees arbitrarily. The interactive features in my program allow the user to move the columns and rows to see if a pattern emerges. It will also allow users to zoom into specific areas of the map. The program will also have a clustering feature to locate similar trees. By using my program, users can create customized heatmaps to better understand their results, and ultimately, communicate their findings to other researchers.

Click for My Final Report