Spikes Element
In [1]:
import numpy as np
import holoviews as hv
from holoviews import opts


Spikes represent any number of horizontal or vertical line segments with fixed or variable heights. There are a number of different uses for this type. First of all, they may be used as a rugplot to give an overview of a one-dimensional distribution. They may also be useful in more domain-specific cases, such as visualizing spike trains for neurophysiology or spectrograms in physics and chemistry applications.

In the simplest case, a Spikes object represents coordinates in a 1D distribution:

In [2]:
xs = np.random.rand(50)
hv.Spikes(xs).opts(alpha=0.4, spike_length=0.1)

We can overlay Spikes on top of other Chart elements (such as Points or Curve ) if we want to draw attention to where samples are along the x-axis:

In [3]:
ys = np.random.rand(50)
points = hv.Points((xs, ys))
spikes = hv.Spikes(xs)
points.opts(color='red') * spikes

When supplying a second dimension to the Spikes element as a value dimension, these additional values will be mapped onto the line height. Optionally, it is also possible to map dimensions to style options. This way we can, for example, plot a mass spectrogram :

In [4]:
hv.Spikes(np.random.rand(20, 2), 'Mass', 'Intensity').opts(cmap='Reds', color='Intensity')

Another possibility is to draw a set of Spikes offset by a position, which can be useful for plotting discrete events like neurons firing. Here we generate 10 separate random spike trains and distribute them evenly across the space by setting their position . By declaring some yticks , each spike train can be labeled individually:

In [5]:
overlay = hv.NdOverlay({i: hv.Spikes(np.random.randint(0, 100, 10), 'Time').options(
    position=0.1*i, spike_length=0.1) for i in range(10)})

ticks = [((i+1)*0.1-0.05, i) for i in range(10)]

overlay.opts(show_legend=False, yticks=ticks)

Finally, we may use Spikes to visualize marginal distributions as adjoined plots using the << adjoin operator:

In [6]:
points = hv.Points(np.random.randn(500, 2))
(points << hv.Spikes(points['y']) << hv.Spikes(points['x'])).opts(

For full documentation and the available style and plot options, use hv.help(hv.Spikes).

Download this notebook from GitHub (right-click to download).