TimeSearcher data file format

Harry Hochheiser, hsh@cs.umd.edu
TimeSearcher HomePage: http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/timesearcher
1 October Feb 2002 hsh@cs.umd.edu
This document provides a quick overview of the .tqd data file format used to store data for use in TimeSearcher. Essentially a flat-file augmented with descriptive data, this format was developed for ease of use and parsing. Ideally, a more descriptive format using a more modern notations such as XML would be used instead, but development of such a format is not particularly interesting from a research viewpoint.

Each line in a TimeSearcher data file is either a data line or a comment line. Comment lines are those that start with the pound ('#') character: these lines are purely for human reference, and are ignored by the parser.

Header MetaData

Each file consists of several pieces of meta data, each contained on a separate line, and all specified in a set order. Specifically, the following lines are required:

Data Items

The individual data items are found immediately after the header information. Each data item is specified on a single line, with fields delimited by commas. The number of data item lines should be equal to the value given in metadata line (5), as described above.

The first items are the static attributes of the data item, in the order specified by the "static attribute" meta data line. Thus, given the example of "name,country" given above, a possible start to a data item might be "Hochheiser,US,".

The dynamic attributes are found immediately after the static attributes. If the number of dynamic attributes (specified in line 3, above) is n, this line will contain all n values (in the order specified in line 3) for the first time point, followed by the values for the second time point, etc., up until the number of time points specified in item 4. For example:

AIRBORNE FREIGHT CORP,20.81,21.75,21.38,22.44,....

In this example, there are two values for each time point - Low, and High, as desciribed in item #3 above. Thus, 20.81 is the low value at the first time point, 21.75 is the high value at that timepoint, 21.38 is the low value for the second time point, etc.

An example of the metadata and the first data line are given below. Several example files are given in the "data" directory in the TimeSearcher distribution:

13 Months of High and Low prices
# static attributes
# Dynamic atts
#  of time points=n
# of records k
# time point labels
#stat1, dynamic @ t1, dynamic @t2, ....,dynamic @tn
# each dynamic are the v1, v2, ..vk @ time tj.
AIRBORNE FREIGHT CORP,20.81,21.75,21.38,22.44,.....