Examination Of Multicomponent Data Sets

In 1966 there was a seminal development (5,6), which was the use of statistical multivariate analysis (MVA) to seek out from all the data from gas chromatography those peaks most effective for classifying samples into the sensory category to which they belonged. Earlier efforts had been made to find the peaks most closely correlated with sensory quality, but they were often futile or only partially successful because simple, univariate statistical methods, such as c2, were employed rather than MVA procedures. The new method used discriminant analysis (6). Almost immediately other researchers began to follow this lead; sometimes they used discriminant analysis, but quite logically they began to examine other forms of MVA for their applicability to sensory-instrumental analysis. The result is that today several multivariate methods play a role in examining and correlating sensory and instrumental data.

The flux that enabled multicomponent sensory data to be effectively melded with multicomponent instrumental data was the development of computers. Some of MVA procedures had existed since early in the twentieth century, but they were not widely used because calculation was too onerous and tedious a task when done by hand or by the hand-cranked calculating machines then extant. In the 1960s and the 1970s the critical components to effective correlation of sensory and instrumental data fused. The development of gas chromatography in 1952 (1), the application of discriminant analysis to multicomponent data in 1966 (5,6), and the refining of multicomponent sensory evaluation in 1974 (4) were all encompassed by advances in computer technology during the same period, and subsequent to that time, and set the stage for these individual achievements to coalesce into a major thoroughfare of application. Their coalescing had an influence much like the confluence of the Ohio, the Missouri, and other rivers with the Mississippi, enabling it to bear a heavier traffic load than it could if other rivers did not add to its majesty.

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