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.
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 urban planning, both measuring and communicating sustainability are among the most recent concerns. Therefore, the primary emphasis of this thesis concerns establishing metrics and visualization techniques in order to deal with indicators of sustainability.
First, this thesis provides a novel approach for measuring and monitoring two indicators of sustainability - urban sprawl and carbon footprints – at the urban neighborhood scale. By designating different sectors of relevant carbon emissions as well as different household categories, this thesis provides detailed information about carbon emissions in order to estimate impacts of daily consumption decisions and travel behavior by household type. Regarding urban sprawl, a novel gridcell-based indicator model is established, based on different dimensions of urban sprawl.
Second, this thesis presents a three-step-based visualization method, addressing predefined requirements for geovisualizations and visualizing those indicator results, introduced above. This surface-visualization combines advantages from both common GIS representation and three-dimensional representation techniques within the field of urban planning, and is assisted by a web-based graphical user interface which allows for accessing the results by the public.
In addition, by focusing on local neighborhoods, this thesis provides an alternative approach in measuring and visualizing both indicators by utilizing a Neighborhood Relation Diagram (NRD), based on weighted Voronoi diagrams. Thus, the user is able to a) utilize original census data, b) compare direct impacts of indicator results on the neighboring cells, and c) compare both indicators of sustainability visually.
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.
The safety of embedded systems is becoming more and more important nowadays. Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) is a widely used technique for analyzing the safety of embedded systems. A standardized tree-like structure called a Fault Tree (FT) models the failures of the systems. The Component Fault Tree (CFT) provides an advanced modeling concept for adapting the traditional FTs to the hierarchical architecture model in system design. Minimal Cut Set (MCS) analysis is a method that works for qualitative analysis based on the FTs. Each MCS represents a minimal combination of component failures of a system called basic events, which may together cause the top-level system failure. The ordinary representations of MCSs consist of plain text and data tables with little additional supporting visual and interactive information. Importance analysis based on FTs or CFTs estimates the contribution of each potential basic event to a top-level system failure. The resulting importance values of basic events are typically represented in summary views, e.g., data tables and histograms. There is little visual integration between these forms and the FT (or CFT) structure. The safety of a system can be improved using an iterative process, called the safety improvement process, based on FTs taking relevant constraints into account, e.g., cost. Typically, relevant data regarding the safety improvement process are presented across multiple views with few interactive associations. In short, the ordinary representation concepts cannot effectively facilitate these analyses.
We propose a set of visualization approaches for addressing the issues above mentioned in order to facilitate those analyses in terms of the representations.
1. To support the MCS analysis, we propose a matrix-based visualization that allows detailed data of the MCSs of interest to be viewed while maintaining a satisfactory overview of a large number of MCSs for effective navigation and pattern analysis. Engineers can also intuitively analyze the influence of MCSs of a CFT.
2. To facilitate the importance analysis based on the CFT, we propose a hybrid visualization approach that combines the icicle-layout-style architectural views with the CFT structure. This approach facilitates to identify the vulnerable components taking the hierarchies of system architecture into account and investigate the logical failure propagation of the important basic events.
3. We propose a visual safety improvement process that integrates an enhanced decision tree with a scatter plot. This approach allows one to visually investigate the detailed data related to individual steps of the process while maintaining the overview of the process. The approach facilitates to construct and analyze improvement solutions of the safety of a system.
Using our visualization approaches, the MCS analysis, the importance analysis, and the safety improvement process based on the CFT can be facilitated.
In the presented work, I evaluate if and how Virtual Reality (VR) technologies can be used to support researchers working in the geosciences by providing immersive, collaborative visualization systems as well as virtual tools for data analysis. Technical challenges encountered in the development of theses systems are identified and solutions for these are provided.
To enable geologists to explore large digital terrain models (DTMs) in an immersive, explorative fashion within a VR environment, a suitable terrain rendering algorithm is required. For realistic perception of planetary curvature at large viewer altitudes, spherical rendering of the surface is necessary. Furthermore, rendering must sustain interactive frame rates of about 30 frames per second to avoid sensory confusion of the user. At the same time, the data structures used for visualization should also be suitable for efficiently computing spatial properties such as height profiles or volumes in order to implement virtual analysis tools. To address these requirements, I have developed a novel terrain rendering algorithm based on tiled quadtree hierarchies using the HEALPix parametrization of a sphere. For evaluation purposes, the system is applied to a 500 GiB dataset representing the surface of Mars.
Considering the current development of inexpensive remote surveillance equipment such as quadcopters, it seems inevitable that these devices will play a major role in future disaster management applications. Virtual reality installations in disaster management headquarters which provide an immersive visualization of near-live, three-dimensional situational data could then be a valuable asset for rapid, collaborative decision making. Most terrain visualization algorithms, however, require a computationally expensive pre-processing step to construct a terrain database.
To address this problem, I present an on-the-fly pre-processing system for cartographic data. The system consists of a frontend for rendering and interaction as well as a distributed processing backend executing on a small cluster which produces tiled data in the format required by the frontend on demand. The backend employs a CUDA based algorithm on graphics cards to perform efficient conversion from cartographic standard projections to the HEALPix-based grid used by the frontend.
Measurement of spatial properties is an important step in quantifying geological phenomena. When performing these tasks in a VR environment, a suitable input device and abstraction for the interaction (a “virtual tool”) must be provided. This tool should enable the user to precisely select the location of the measurement even under a perspective projection. Furthermore, the measurement process should be accurate to the resolution of the data available and should not have a large impact on the frame rate in order to not violate interactivity requirements.
I have implemented virtual tools based on the HEALPix data structure for measurement of height profiles as well as volumes. For interaction, a ray-based picking metaphor was employed, using a virtual selection ray extending from the user’s hand holding a VR interaction device. To provide maximum accuracy, the algorithms access the quad-tree terrain database at the highest available resolution level while at the same time maintaining interactivity in rendering.
Geological faults are cracks in the earth’s crust along which a differential movement of rock volumes can be observed. Quantifying the direction and magnitude of such translations is an essential requirement in understanding earth’s geological history. For this purpose, geologists traditionally use maps in top-down projection which are cut (e.g. using image editing software) along the suspected fault trace. The two resulting pieces of the map are then translated in parallel against each other until surface features which have been cut by the fault motion come back into alignment. The amount of translation applied is then used as a hypothesis for the magnitude of the fault action. In the scope of this work it is shown, however, that performing this study in a top-down perspective can lead to the acceptance of faulty reconstructions, since the three-dimensional structure of topography is not considered.
To address this problem, I present a novel terrain deformation algorithm which allows the user to trace a fault line directly within a 3D terrain visualization system and interactively deform the terrain model while inspecting the resulting reconstruction from arbitrary perspectives. I demonstrate that the application of 3D visualization allows for a more informed interpretation of fault reconstruction hypotheses. The algorithm is implemented on graphics cards and performs real-time geometric deformation of the terrain model, guaranteeing interactivity with respect to all parameters.
Paleoceanography is the study of the prehistoric evolution of the ocean. One of the key data sources used in this research are coring experiments which provide point samples of layered sediment depositions at the ocean floor. The samples obtained in these experiments document the time-varying sediment concentrations within the ocean water at the point of measurement. The task of recovering the ocean flow patterns based on these deposition records is a challenging inverse numerical problem, however.
To support domain scientists working on this problem, I have developed a VR visualization tool to aid in the verification of model parameters by providing simultaneous visualization of experimental data from coring as well as the resulting predicted flow field obtained from numerical simulation. Earth is visualized as a globe in the VR environment with coring data being presented using a billboard rendering technique while the
time-variant flow field is indicated using Line-Integral-Convolution (LIC). To study individual sediment transport pathways and their correlation with the depositional record, interactive particle injection and real-time advection is supported.
As the complexity of embedded systems continuously rises, their development becomes more and more challenging. One technique to cope with this complexity is the employment of virtual prototypes. The virtual prototypes are intended to represent the embedded system’s properties on different levels of detail like register transfer level or transaction level. Virtual prototypes can be used for different tasks throughout the development process. They can act as executable specification, can be used for architecture exploration, can ease system integration, and allow for pre- and post-silicon software development and verification. The optimization objectives for virtual prototypes and their creation process are manifold. Finding an appropriate trade-off between the simulation accuracy, the simulation performance, and the implementation effort is a major challenge, as these requirements are contradictory.
In this work, two new and complementary techniques for the efficient creation of accurate and high-performance SystemC based virtual prototypes are proposed: Advanced Temporal Decoupling (ATD) and Transparent Transaction Level Modeling (TTLM). The suitability for industrial environments is assured by the employment of common standards like SystemC TLM-2.0 and IP-XACT.
Advanced Temporal Decoupling enhances the simulation accuracy while retaining high simulation performance by allowing for cycle accurate simulation in the context of SystemC TLM-2.0 temporal decoupling. This is achieved by exploiting the local time warp arising in SystemC TLM-2.0 temporal decoupled models to support the computation of resource contention effects. In ATD, accesses to shared resource are managed by Temporal Decoupled Semaphores (TDSems) which are integrated into the modeled shared resources. The set of TDSems assures the correct execution order of shared resource accesses and incorporates timing effects resulting from shared resource access execution and resource conflicts. This is done by dynamically varying the data granularity of resource accesses based on information gathered from the local time warp. ATD facilitates modeling of a wide range of resource and resource access properties like preemptable and non-preemptable accesses, synchronous and asynchronous accesses, multiport resources, dynamic access priorities, interacting and cascaded resources, and user specified schedulers prioritizing simultaneous resource accesses.
Transparent Transaction Level Modeling focuses on the efficient creation of virtual prototypes by reducing the implementation effort and consists of a library and a code generator. The TTLM library adds a layer of convenience functions to ATD comprising various application programming interfaces for inter module communication, virtual prototype configuration and run time information extraction. The TTLM generator is used to automatically generate the structural code of the virtual prototype from the formal hardware specification language IP-XACT.
The applicability and benefits of the presented techniques are demonstrated using an image processing centric automotive application. Compared to an existing cycle accurate SystemC model, the implementation effort can be reduced by approximately 50% using TTLM. Applying ATD, the simulation performance can be increased by a factor of up to five while retaining cycle accuracy.
Interactive visualization of large structured and unstructured data sets is a permanent challenge for scientific visualization. Large data sets are for example created by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) finite element method (FEM), and computer aided design (CAD). For visualizing those data sets not only accelerated rasterization by means of using specialized hardware i.e. graphics cards is of interest, but also ray casting, as it is perfectly suited for scientific visualization. Ray casting does not only support many rendering modes (e.g., opaque rendering, semi transparent rendering, iso surface rendering, maximum intensity projection, x-ray, absorption emitter model, ...) for which it allows the creation of high quality images, but it also supports many primitives (e.g., not only triangles but also spheres, curved iso surfaces, NURBS, implicit functions, ...). It furthermore scales basically linear to the amount of processor cores used and - this makes it highly interesting for the visualization of large data sets - it scales for static scenes sublinear to data size. Interactive ray casting is currently not widely used within the scientifc visualization community. This is mainly based on historical reasons, as just a few years ago no applicable interactive ray casters for commodity hardware did exist. Interactive scientific visualization has only been possible by using graphics cards or specialized and/or expensive hardware. The goal of this work is to broaden the possibilies for interactive scientific visualization, by showing that interactive CPU based ray casting is today feasible on commodity hardware and that it may efficiently be used together with GPU based rasterization. In this thesis it is first shown that interactive CPU based ray casters may efficiently be integrated into already existing OpenGL frameworks. This is achieved through an OpenGL friendly interface that supports multiple threads and single instruction multiple data (SIMD) operations. For the visualization of rectilinear (and not necessarily cartesian) grids are new implicit kd-trees introduced. They have fast construction times, low memory requirements, and allow ontoday's commodity desktop machines interactive iso surface ray tracing and maximum intensity projection of large scalar fields. A new interactive SIMD ray tracing technique for large tetrahedral meshes is introduced. It is very portable and general and is therefore suited for portation upon different (future) hardware and for usage upon several applications. The thesis ends with a real life commercial application which shows that CPU-based ray casting has already reached the state where it may outperform GPU-based rasterization for scientific visualization.
Mechanical ventilation of patients with severe lung injury is an important clinical treatment to ensure proper lung oxygenation and to mitigate the extent of collapsed lung regions. While current imaging technologies such as Computed Tomography (CT) and chest X-ray allow for a thorough inspection of the thorax, they are limited to static pictures and exhibit several disadvantages, including exposure to ionizing radiation and high cost. Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) is a novel method to determine functional processes inside the thorax such as lung ventilation and cardiac activity. EIT reconstructs the internal electrical conductivity distribution within the thorax from voltage measurements on the body surface. Conductivity changes correlate with important clinical parameters such as lung volume and perfusion. Current EIT systems and algorithms use simplified or generalized thorax models to solve the reconstruction problem, which reduce image quality and anatomical significance. In this thesis, the development of a clinically relevant workflow to compute sophisticated three-dimensional thorax models from patient-specific CT data is described. The method allows medical experts to generate a multi-material segmentation in an interactive and fast way, while a volumetric mesh is computed automatically from the segmentation. The significantly improved image quality and anatomical precision of EIT images reconstructed with these 3D models is reported, and the impact on clinical applicability is discussed. In addition, three projects concerning quantitative CT (qCT) measurements and multi-modal 3D visualization are presented, which demonstrate the importance and productivity of interdisciplinary research groups including computer scientists and medical experts. The results presented in this thesis contribute significantly to clinical research efforts to pave the way towards improved patient-specific treatments of lung injury using EIT and qCT.
Fluid extraction is a typical chemical process where two types of fluids are mixed together. The high complexity of this process which involves droplet coalescence, breakup, mass transfer, and counter-current flow often makes design difficult. The industrial design of these processes is still based on expensive mini-plant and pilot plant experiments. Therefore, there is a strong need for research into the stimulation of fluid-fluid interaction processes using computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
Previous multi-phase fluid simulations have focused on the development of models that couple mass and momentum using the Navier-Stokes equation. Recent population balance models (PBM) have proved to be important methods for analyzing droplet breakage and collisions. A combination of CFD and PBM facilitates the simulation of flow property by solving coupling equations, and the calculation of the droplet size and numbers. In our study, we successfully coupled an Euler-Euler CFD model with the breakup and coalescence models proposed by Luo and Svendsen (59).
The simulation output of extraction columns provides a mathematical understand- ing of how fluids are mixed inside a mixing device. This mixing process shows that the dispersed phase of a flow generates large blobs and bubbles. Current mathemati- cal simulation results often fail to provide an intuitive representation of how well two different types of fluid interact, so intuitive and physically plausible visualization tech- niques are in high demand to help chemical engineers to explore and analyze bubble column simulation data. In chapter 3, we present the visualization tools we developed for extraction column data.
Fluid interfaces and free surfaces are topics of growing interest in the field of multi- phase computational fluid dynamics. However, the analysis of the flow field relative to the material interface shape and topology is a challenging task. In chapter 5, we present a technique that facilitates the visualization and analysis of complex material interface behaviors over time. To achieve this, we track the surface parameterization of time-varying material interfaces and identify locations where there are interactions between the material interfaces and fluid particles. Splatting and surface visualization techniques produce an intuitive representation of the derived interface stability. Our results demonstrate that the interaction of a flow field with a material interface can be understood using appropriate extraction and visualization techniques, and that our techniques can help the analysis of mixing and material interface consistency.
In addition to texture-based methods for surface analysis, the interface of two- phase fluid can be considered as an implicit function of the density or volume fraction values. High-level visualization techniques such as topology-based methods can re- veal the hidden structure underlying simple simulation data, which will enhance and advance our understanding of multi-fluid simulation data. Recent feature-based vi- sualization approaches have explored the possibility of using Reeb graphs to analyze scalar field topologies(19, 107). In chapter 6, we present a novel interpolation scheme for interpolating point-based volume fraction data and we further explore the implicit fluid interface using a topology-based method.