TimeSearcher data file format
TimeSearcher HomePage: http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/timesearcher
1 October Feb 2002 email@example.com
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
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.
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:
- 1. Title - a title for the data set.
- 2. Static (unchanging) attributes for each item in a data set. These
are the attributes of each item in the data set that do _not_ change
over time. Static attributes are provided in the form: "attribute
name, attribute type; attribute name, attribute type." Possible Types
are String, Float, and Int (for integer). Thus, for example, the line
"Name,String;Country,String" implies two static variables, Name and
Country, both having type "string".
- 3. Dynamic attributes - those that do change over time, and therefore
might be appropriate for searching using TimeSearcher. Thes attributes
are specified in the same format used for static attributes, but
allowable value types are limited to Float and Int.
- 4. The number of time points for each item in the database. Each item
must have the same number of measurements.
- 5. The number of items in the data set.
- 6. Labels for the time points. There must be one value provided for
each of the time points specified in example 6. These labels may be
integers establishing a numeric order (1,2,3, etc.), floats, or strings
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,
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,.....