- Multidimensional tabular data (e.g . tables of numbers and text).
- Time series data (e.g. image, audio/video data).
- Graphics oriented data (e.g. tree and network structured data).
Furthermore, all software applications can also be grouped in to three corresponding categories. A software package that supports multiple data categories (like java system, Matlab) is either a generic tool that requires further software for end-users; or it is hopelessly difficult to design, implement, understand and to use.
When I encounter a new data analysis problem I first identify its category, then I start to search for methods and software packages targeting that category. I would not try, for instance, to use MDS or SQL to analyze images or video/audio data.