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.
Today's ubiquity of visual content as driven by the availability of broadband Internet, low-priced storage, and the omnipresence of camera equipped mobile devices conveys much of our thinking and feeling as individuals and as a society. As a result the growth of video repositories is increasing at enourmous rates with content now being embedded and shared through social media. To make use of this new form of social multimedia, concept detection, the automatic mapping of semantic concepts and video content has to be extended such that concept vocabularies are synchronized with current real-world events, systems can perform scalable concept learning with thousands of concepts, and high-level information such as sentiment can be extracted from visual content. To catch up with these demands the following three contributions are made in this thesis: (i) concept detection is linked to trending topics, (ii) visual learning from web videos is presented including the proper treatment of tags as concept labels, and (iii) the extension of concept detection with adjective noun pairs for sentiment analysis is proposed.
In order for concept detection to satisfy users' current information needs, the notion of fixed concept vocabularies has to be reconsidered. This thesis presents a novel concept learning approach built upon dynamic vocabularies, which are automatically augmented with trending topics mined from social media. Once discovered, trending topics are evaluated by forecasting their future progression to predict high impact topics, which are then either mapped to an available static concept vocabulary or trained as individual concept detectors on demand. It is demonstrated in experiments on YouTube video clips that by a visual learning of trending topics, improvements of over 100% in concept detection accuracy can be achieved over static vocabularies (n=78,000).
To remove manual efforts related to training data retrieval from YouTube and noise caused by tags being coarse, subjective and context-depedent, this thesis suggests an automatic concept-to-query mapping for the retrieval of relevant training video material, and active relevance filtering to generate reliable annotations from web video tags. Here, the relevance of web tags is modeled as a latent variable, which is combined with an active learning label refinement. In experiments on YouTube, active relevance filtering is found to outperform both automatic filtering and active learning approaches, leading to a reduction of required label inspections by 75% as compared to an expert annotated training dataset (n=100,000).
Finally, it is demonstrated, that concept detection can serve as a key component to infer the sentiment reflected in visual content. To extend concept detection for sentiment analysis, adjective noun pairs (ANP) as novel entities for concept learning are proposed in this thesis. First a large-scale visual sentiment ontology consisting of 3,000 ANPs is automatically constructed by mining the web. From this ontology a mid-level representation of visual content – SentiBank – is trained to encode the visual presence of 1,200 ANPs. This novel approach of visual learning is validated in three independent experiments on sentiment prediction (n=2,000), emotion detection (n=807) and pornographic filtering (n=40,000). SentiBank is shown to outperform known low-level feature representations (sentiment prediction, pornography detection) or perform comparable to state-of-the art methods (emotion detection).
Altogether, these contributions extend state-of-the-art concept detection approaches such that concept learning can be done autonomously from web videos on a large-scale, and can cope with novel semantic structures such as trending topics or adjective noun pairs, adding a new dimension to the understanding of video content.
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.
The last couple of years have marked the entire field of information technology with the introduction of a new global resource, called data. Certainly, one can argue that large amounts of information and highly interconnected and complex datasets were available since the dawn of the computer and even centuries before. However, it has been only a few years since digital data has exponentially expended, diversified and interconnected into an overwhelming range of domains, generating an entire universe of zeros and ones. This universe represents a source of information with the potential of advancing a multitude of fields and sparking valuable insights. In order to obtain this information, this data needs to be explored, analyzed and interpreted.
While a large set of problems can be addressed through automatic techniques from fields like artificial intelligence, machine learning or computer vision, there are various datasets and domains that still rely on the human intuition and experience in order to parse and discover hidden information. In such instances, the data is usually structured and represented in the form of an interactive visual representation that allows users to efficiently explore the data space and reach valuable insights. However, the experience, knowledge and intuition of a single person also has its limits. To address this, collaborative visualizations allow multiple users to communicate, interact and explore a visual representation by building on the different views and knowledge blocks contributed by each person.
In this dissertation, we explore the potential of subjective measurements and user emotional awareness in collaborative scenarios as well as support flexible and user- centered collaboration in information visualization systems running on tabletop displays. We commence by introducing the concept of user-centered collaborative visualization (UCCV) and highlighting the context in which it applies. We continue with a thorough overview of the state-of-the-art in the areas of collaborative information visualization, subjectivity measurement and emotion visualization, combinable tabletop tangibles, as well as browsing history visualizations. Based on a new web browser history visualization for exploring user parallel browsing behavior, we introduce two novel user-centered techniques for supporting collaboration in co-located visualization systems. To begin with, we inspect the particularities of detecting user subjectivity through brain-computer interfaces, and present two emotion visualization techniques for touch and desktop interfaces. These visualizations offer real-time or post-task feedback about the users’ affective states, both in single-user and collaborative settings, thus increasing the emotional self-awareness and the awareness of other users’ emotions. For supporting collaborative interaction, a novel design for tabletop tangibles is described together with a set of specifically developed interactions for supporting tabletop collaboration. These ring-shaped tangibles minimize occlusion, support touch interaction, can act as interaction lenses, and describe logical operations through nesting operations. The visualization and the two UCCV techniques are each evaluated individually capturing a set of advantages and limitations of each approach. Additionally, the collaborative visualization supported by the two UCCV techniques is also collectively evaluated in three user studies that offer insight into the specifics of interpersonal interaction and task transition in collaborative visualization. The results show that the proposed collaboration support techniques do not only improve the efficiency of the visualization, but also help maintain the collaboration process and aid a balanced social interaction.
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.