Due to remarkable technological advances in the last three decades the capacity of computer systems has improved tremendously. Considering Moore's law, the number of transistors on integrated circuits has doubled approximately every two years and the trend is continuing. Likewise, developments in storage density, network bandwidth, and compute capacity show similar patterns. As a consequence, the amount of data that can be processed by today's systems has increased by orders of magnitude. At the same time, however, the resolution of screens has hardly increased by a factor of ten. Thus, there is a gap between the amount of data that can be processed and the amount of data that can be visualized. Large high-resolution displays offer a way to deal with this gap and provide a significantly increased screen area by combining the images of multiple smaller display devices. The main objective of this dissertation is the development of new visualization and interaction techniques for large high-resolution displays.
Modern science utilizes advanced measurement and simulation techniques to analyze phenomena from fields such as medicine, physics, or mechanics. The data produced by application of these techniques takes the form of multi-dimensional functions or fields, which have to be processed in order to provide meaningful parts of the data to domain experts. Definition and implementation of such processing techniques with the goal to produce visual representations of portions of the data are topic of research in scientific visualization or multi-field visualization in the case of multiple fields. In this thesis, we contribute novel feature extraction and visualization techniques that are able to convey data from multiple fields created by scientific simulations or measurements. Furthermore, our scalar-, vector-, and tensor field processing techniques contribute to scattered field processing in general and introduce novel ways of analyzing and processing tensorial quantities such as strain and displacement in flow fields, providing insights into field topology. We introduce novel mesh-free extraction techniques for visualization of complex-valued scalar fields in acoustics that aid in understanding wave topology in low frequency sound simulations. The resulting structures represent regions with locally minimal sound amplitude and convey wave node evolution and sound cancellation in time-varying sound pressure fields, which is considered an important feature in acoustics design. Furthermore, methods for flow field feature extraction are presented that facilitate analysis of velocity and strain field properties by visualizing deformation of infinitesimal Lagrangian particles and macroscopic deformation of surfaces and volumes in flow. The resulting adaptive manifolds are used to perform flow field segmentation which supports multi-field visualization by selective visualization of scalar flow quantities. The effects of continuum displacement in scattered moment tensor fields can be studied by a novel method for multi-field visualization presented in this thesis. The visualization method demonstrates the benefit of clustering and separate views for the visualization of multiple fields.
The recognition of patterns and structures has gained importance for dealing with the growing amount of data being generated by sensors and simulations. Most existing methods for pattern recognition are tailored for scalar data and non-correlated data of higher dimensions. The recognition of general patterns in flow structures is possible, but not yet practically usable, due to the high computation effort. The main goal of this work is to present methods for comparative visualization of flow data, amongst others, based on a new method for efficient pattern recognition on flow data. This work is structured in three parts: At first, a known feature-based approach for pattern recognition on flow data, the Clifford convolution, has been applied to color edge detection, and been extended to non-uniform grids. However, this method is still computationally expensive for a general pattern recognition, since the recognition algorithm has to be applied for numerous different scales and orientations of the query pattern. A more efficient and accurate method for pattern recognition on flow data is presented in the second part. It is based upon a novel mathematical formulation of moment invariants for flow data. The common moment invariants for pattern recognition are not applicable on flow data, since they are only invariant on non-correlated data. Because of the spatial correlation of flow data, the moment invariants had to be redefined with different basis functions to satisfy the demands for an invariant mapping of flow data. The computation of the moment invariants is done by a multi-scale convolution of the complete flow field with the basis functions. This pre-processing computation time almost equals the time for the pattern recognition of one single general pattern with the former algorithms. However, after having computed the moments once, they can be indexed and used as a look-up-table to recognize any desired pattern quickly and interactively. This results in a flexible and easy-to-use tool for the analysis of patterns in 2d flow data. For an improved rendering of the recognized features, an importance driven streamline algorithm has been developed. The density of the streamlines can be adjusted by using importance maps. The result of a pattern recognition can be used as such a map, for example. Finally, new comparative flow visualization approaches utilizing the streamline approach, the flow pattern matching, and the moment invariants are presented.
Knowledge discovery from large and complex collections of today’s scientific datasets is a challenging task. With the ability to measure and simulate more processes at increasingly finer spatial and temporal scales, the increasing number of data dimensions and data objects is presenting tremendous challenges for data analysis and effective data exploration methods and tools. Researchers are overwhelmed with data and standard tools are often insufficient to enable effective data analysis and knowledge discovery. The main objective of this thesis is to provide important new capabilities to accelerate scientific knowledge discovery form large, complex, and multivariate scientific data. The research covered in this thesis addresses these scientific challenges using a combination of scientific visualization, information visualization, automated data analysis, and other enabling technologies, such as efficient data management. The effectiveness of the proposed analysis methods is demonstrated via applications in two distinct scientific research fields, namely developmental biology and high-energy physics. Advances in microscopy, image analysis, and embryo registration enable for the first time measurement of gene expression at cellular resolution for entire organisms. Analysis of highdimensional spatial gene expression datasets is a challenging task. By integrating data clustering and visualization, analysis of complex, time-varying, spatial gene expression patterns and their formation becomes possible. The analysis framework MATLAB and the visualization have been integrated, making advanced analysis tools accessible to biologist and enabling bioinformatic researchers to directly integrate their analysis with the visualization. Laser wakefield particle accelerators (LWFAs) promise to be a new compact source of highenergy particles and radiation, with wide applications ranging from medicine to physics. To gain insight into the complex physical processes of particle acceleration, physicists model LWFAs computationally. The datasets produced by LWFA simulations are (i) extremely large, (ii) of varying spatial and temporal resolution, (iii) heterogeneous, and (iv) high-dimensional, making analysis and knowledge discovery from complex LWFA simulation data a challenging task. To address these challenges this thesis describes the integration of the visualization system VisIt and the state-of-the-art index/query system FastBit, enabling interactive visual exploration of extremely large three-dimensional particle datasets. Researchers are especially interested in beams of high-energy particles formed during the course of a simulation. This thesis describes novel methods for automatic detection and analysis of particle beams enabling a more accurate and efficient data analysis process. By integrating these automated analysis methods with visualization, this research enables more accurate, efficient, and effective analysis of LWFA simulation data than previously possible.
Computer-based simulation and visualization of acoustics of a virtual scene can aid during the design process of concert halls, lecture rooms, theaters, or living rooms. Because, not only the visual aspect of the room is important, but also its acoustics. In factory floors noise reduction is important since noise is hazardous to health. Despite the obvious dissimilarity between our aural and visual senses, many techniques required for the visualization of photo-realistic images and for the auralization of acoustic environments are quite similar. Both applications can be served by geometric methods such as particle- and ray tracing if we neglect a number of less important effects. By means of the simulation of room acoustics we want to predict the acoustic properties of a virtual model. For auralization, a pulse response filter needs to be assembled for each pair of source and listener positions. The convolution of this filter with an anechoic source signal provides the signal received at the listener position. Hence, the pulse response filter must contain all reverberations (echos) of a unit pulse, including their frequency decompositions due to absorption at different surface materials. For the room acoustic simulation a method named phonon tracing, since it is based on particles, is developed. The approach computes the energy or pressure decomposition for each particle (phonon) sent out from a sound source and uses this in a second pass (phonon collection) to construct the response filters for different listeners. This step can be performed in different precision levels. During the tracing step particle paths and additional information are stored in a so called phonon map. Using this map several sound visualization approaches were developed. From the visualization, the effect of different materials on the spectral energy / pressure distribution can be observed. The first few reflections already show whether certain frequency bands are rapidly absorbed. The absorbing materials can be identified and replaced in the virtual model, improving the overall acoustic quality of the simulated room. Furthermore an insight into the pressure / energy received at the listener position is possible. The phonon tracing algorithm as well as several sound visualization approaches are integrated into a common system utilizing Virtual Reality technologies in order to facilitate the immersion into the virtual scene. The system is a prototype developed within a project at the University of Kaiserslautern and is still a subject of further improvements. It consists of a stereoscopic back-projection system for visual rendering as well as professional audio equipment for auralization purposes.
Die vorliegende Arbeit beschäftigt sich mit der visuellen Kontrolle raumplanerischer Entwürfe. Grundlage der Überlegungen ist das gegenwärtige Verfahren, der Planungsprozess, das zur Erstellung der Entwürfe führt. Der Entscheidungsweg hin zum endgültigen Ergebnis erfolgt zurzeit noch ohne Rechnerunterstützung. Die in den Planungsprozess Involvierten stützen ihre Entscheidungen bspw. auf Pläne, eigene Erfahrungen und Statistiken und fertigen im Verlauf von Diskussionsrunden verschiedene Entwürfe an. Dieser Ablauf ist komplex, aufgrund der eingehenden Daten und der damit zusammenhängenden Diskussionen, und langwierig da erst nach einigen Iterationsschritten ein Ergebnis vorliegt. Die Arbeit verfolgt das Ziel, die Akteure durch eine Rechnerunterstützung schneller und zielgerichtet zu einer Entscheidungsfindung zu führen. Meine Untersuchung des Anwendungsumfeldes hat ergeben, dass dies nur möglich ist, wenn zum Einen das entstehende System in der Lage ist, die großen, heterogenen Datenmengen zu verarbeiten und andererseits die Visualisierung der Ergebnisse in einer Form erfolgt, die den Akteuren vom bisherigen Planungsprozess her bekannt ist. Die Visualisierung darf dabei keine bewertende Aussage treffen, sondern muss die Informationen der Analyse neutral in einem dem Nutzer bekannten Format abbilden. Als Ansatzpunkt stellt sich der informelle Bereich der Entscheidungsfindung dar. Es werden zwei Lösungswege aus dem Bereich der Clusteringalgorithmen verfolgt, die die großen Datenmengen verarbeiten und analysieren. Als Ergebnis erhalten die Akteure durch das Voronoi-Diagramm direkt einen Entwurf, der die Einschätzungen aller Akteure widerspiegelt und durch ein Übereinanderlegen mit der Karte des Plangebietes dem klassischen Format im Rahmen des Planungsprozesses entspricht. Dadurch wird die Akzeptanz der Rechnerunterstützung bei den Beteiligten des Planungsprozesses gesteigert. Sollte dieser Entwurf noch keine direkte Zustimmung finden, kann über die entwickelte Informationsvisualisierung eine Anzeige und in der Folge eine Anpassung der Eingangsgrößen erfolgen und somit sehr schnell ein neuer Entwurf entwickelt werden. Die Visualisierung übernimmt dabei die Funktion der bisher in Papierform erstellten Pläne im Entscheidungsprozess und bietet damit auch fachfremden Beteiligten eine visuelle Kontrollmöglichkeit der Qualität des Entwurfes. Insgesamt werden mit dem Tool IKone die Akteure in Anlehnung an die standardmäßigen Abläufe und visuellen Darstellungen mittels eines rechnergestützten Systems unterstützt.
Sound surrounds us all the time and in every place in our daily life, may it be pleasant music in a concert hall or disturbing noise emanating from a busy street in front of our home. The basic properties are the same for both kinds of sound, namely sound waves propagating from a source, but we perceive it in different ways depending on our current mood or if the sound is wanted or not. In this thesis both pleasant sound as well as disturbing noise is examined by means of simulating the sound and visualizing the results thereof. However, although the basic properties of music and traffic noise are the same, one is interested in different features. For example, in a concert hall, the reverberation time is an important quality measure, but if noise is considered only the resulting sound level, for example on ones balcony, is of interest. Such differences are reflected in different methods of simulation and required visualizations, therefore this thesis is divided into two parts. The first part about room acoustics deals with the simulation and novel visualizations for indoor sound and acoustic quality measures, such as definition (original "Deutlichkeit") and clarity index (original "Klarheitsmaß"). For the simulation two different methods, a geometric (phonon tracing) and a wave based (FEM) approach, are applied and compared. The visualization techniques give insight into the sound behaviour and the acoustic quality of a room from a global as well as a listener based viewpoint. Furthermore, an acoustic rendering equation is presented, which is used to render interference effects for different frequencies. Last but not least a novel visualization approach for low frequency sound is presented, which enables the topological analysis of pressure fields based on room eigenfrequencies. The second part about environmental noise is concerned with the simulation and visualization of outdoor sound with a focus on traffic noise. The simulation instruction prescribed by national regulations is discussed in detail, and an approach for the computation of noise volumes, as well as an extension to the simulation, allowing interactive noise calculation, are presented. Novel visualization and interaction techniques for the calculated noise data, incorporated in an interactive three dimensional environment, enabling the easy comprehension of noise problems, are presented. Furthermore additional information can be integrated into the framework to enhance the visualization of noise and the usability of the framework for different usages.
The visualization of numerical fluid flow datasets is essential to the engineering processes that motivate their computational simulation. To address the need for visual representations that convey meaningful relations and enable a deep understanding of flow structures, the discipline of Flow Visualization has produced many methods and schemes that are tailored to a variety of visualization tasks. The ever increasing complexity of modern flow simulations, however, puts an enormous demand on these methods. The study of vortex breakdown, for example, which is a highly transient and inherently three-dimensional flow pattern with substantial impact wherever it appears, has driven current techniques to their limits. In this thesis, we propose several novel visualization methods that significantly advance the state of the art in the visualization of complex flow structures. First, we propose a novel scheme for the construction of stream surfaces from the trajectories of particles embedded in a flow. These surfaces are extremely useful since they naturally exploit coherence between neighboring trajectories and are highly illustrative in nature. We overcome the limitations of existing stream surface algorithms that yield poor results in complex flows, and show how the resulting surfaces can be used a building blocks for advanced flow visualization techniques. Moreover, we present a visualization method that is based on moving section planes that travel through a dataset and sample the flow. By considering the changes to the flow topology on the plane as it moves, we obtain a method of visualizing topological structures in three-dimensional flows that are not accessible by conventional topological methods. On the same algorithmic basis, we construct an algorithm for the tracking of critical points in such flows, thereby enabling the treatment of time-dependent datasets. Last, we address some problems with the recently introduced Lagrangian techniques. While conceptually elegant and generally applicable, they suffer from an enormous computational cost that we significantly use by developing an adaptive approximation algorithm. This allows the application of such methods on very large and complex numerical simulations. Throughout this thesis, we will be concerned with flow visualization aspect of general practical significance but we will particularly emphasize the remarkably challenging visualization of the vortex breakdown phenomenon.
In this thesis we apply powerful mathematical tools such as interval arithmetic for applications in computational geometry, visualization and computer graphics, leading to robust, general and efficient algorithms. We present a completely novel approach for computing the arrangement of arbitrary implicit planar curves and perform ray casting of arbitrary implicit functions by jointly achieving, for the first time, robustness, efficiency and flexibility. Indeed we are able to render even the most difficult implicits in real-time with guaranteed topology and at high resolution. We use subdivision and interval arithmetic as key-ingredients to guarantee robustness. The presented framework is also well-suited for applications to large and unstructured data sets due to the inherent adaptivity of the techniques that are used. We also approach the topic of tensors by collaborating with mechanical engineers on comparative tensor visualization and provide them with helpful visualization paradigms to interpret the data.
In urban planning, sophisticated simulation models are key tools to estimate future population growth for measuring the impact of planning decisions on urban developments and the environment. Simulated population projections usually result in large, macro-scale, multivariate geospatial data sets. Millions of records have to be processed, stored, and visualized to help planners explore and analyze complex population patterns. We introduce a database driven framework for visualizing geospatial multidimensional simulation data based on the output from UrbanSim, a software for the analysis and planning of urban developments. The designed framework is extendable and aims at integrating empirical-stochastic methods and urban simulation models with techniques developed for information visualization and cartography. First, we develop an empirical model for the estimation of residential building types based on demographic household characteristics. The predicted dwelling type information is important for the analysis of future material use, carbon footprint calculations, and for visualizing simultaneously the results of land usage, density, and other significant parameters in 3D space. Our model uses multinomial logistic regression to derive building types at different scales. The estimated regression coefficients are applied to UrbanSim output in order to predict residential building types. The simulation results and the estimated building types are managed in an object-relational geodatabase. From the database, density, building types, and significant demographic variables are visually encoded as scalable, georeferenced 3D geometries and displayed on top of aerial photographs in a Google Earth visual synthesis. The geodatabase can be accessed and the visualization parameters can be chosen through a web-based user interface. The geometries are encoded in KML, Google's markup language, as ready-to-visualize data sets. The goal is to enhance human cognition by displaying abstract representations of multidimensional data sets in a realistic context and thus to support decision making in planning processes.