Data Description, Inc.
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Company History

Data Description was founded in 1985 by Dr. Paul F. Velleman, a statistics professor at Cornell University who had a strong interest in Exploratory Data Analysis and computer tools based on this approach to statistics. It was Velleman’s idea that the rapidly evolving personal computer was the ideal platform from which to launch analytical applications based on visual data exploration.

Data Visualization Was Our Beginning. Working with Velleman’s ideas about visual analysis and exploration, we first developed our flagship software, Data Desk, which was released in 1986 for the Macintosh. It incorporated most standard statistical methods and featured its own desktop interface, linked graphic displays, including a 3-D rotating plot, dynamic memory management for speedy computation of large problems.

By 1989, when it was released in version 3.0, Data Desk offered fully linked color displays, even faster computing, HyperView help menus, user-specified links between windows, sliders to control parameters in expressions, and a full general linear model. In 1997, Data Desk was released for PC, and it offered users of PCs as well as Macs enhanced multivariate procedures, visual analysis tools, nonlinear curve fitting, and visual analysis tools.

Data Desk has consistently scored high marks from the critics and has received a number of national awards. Its innovations have become the basis of a full line of fast, intuitive tools to our customers and development partners get to the heart of any kind of data.

Multimedia Technology Responded to Marketplace Demand. In the early 1990s with the surge in demand for statistics education, we began to develop the technology to produce computer-based training software capable of teaching concepts and skills, MediaDX, a proprietary technology that deploys a full array of media, narration, animation, video, sound, and interactive tools. The first production using this technology was ActivStats, which has been widely adopted in both the college and high school curricula and for which Dr. Velleman received the 1999 EDUCOM medal to recognize his achievements in creating the course. The original ActivStats has been followed by a family of related courses.

MediaDX has now evolved far beyond its use in statistics. It has been used to develop learning environments to teach scientific and technical subjects for other companies and organizations, and it can be applied to custom tools for teaching any subject accessible by computer.

Custom Development Continues. Our data visualization and multimedia technologies have proved attractive to other enterprises seeking tailored applications to address particular challenges. We continue to work with businesses and organizations to develop innovative, practical solutions that will enhance their performance.