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Visualization

Visualization, sometimes referred to as visual data analysis, uses the graphical representation of data as a means of gaining understanding and insight into the data. Visualization research at SCI has focused on applications spanning computational fluid dynamics, medical imaging and analysis, biomedical data analysis, healthcare data analysis, weather data analysis, poetry, network and graph analysis, financial data analysis, etc.

Research involves novel algorithm and technique development to building tools and systems that assist in the comprehension of massive amounts of (scientific) data. We also research the process of creating successful visualizations.

We strongly believe in the role of interactivity in visual data analysis. Therefore, much of our research is concerned with creating visualizations that are intuitive to interact with and also render at interactive rates.

Visualization at SCI includes the academic subfields of Scientific Visualization, Information Visualization and Visual Analytics.


chuck

Charles Hansen

Volume Rendering
Ray Tracing
Graphics
pascucci

Valerio Pascucci

Topological Methods
Data Streaming
Big Data
chris

Chris Johnson

Scalar, Vector, and
Tensor Field Visualization,
Uncertainty Visualization

mike

Mike Kirby

Uncertainty Visualization
ross

Ross Whitaker

Topological Methods
Uncertainty Visualization
miriah

Miriah Meyer

Information Visualization

yarden

Yarden Livnat

Information Visualization

alex lex

Alex Lex

Information Visualization

bei

Bei Wang

Information Visualization
Scientific Visualization
Topological Data Analysis
     

Visualization Project Sites:


Associated Labs:


Publications in Visualization:




Simple and Efficient Mesh Layout with Space-Filling Curves
H.T. Vo, C.T. Silva, L.F. Scheidegger, V. Pascucci. In Journal of Graphics, GPU, and Game Tools, pp. 25--39. 2011.
ISSN: 2151-237X



Feature-Based Statistical Analysis of Combustion Simulation Data
J.C. Bennett, V. Krishnamoorthy, S. Liu, R.W. Grout, E.R. Hawkes, J.H. Chen, J. Shepherd, V. Pascucci, P.-T. Bremer. In IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE Visualization Conference, Vol. 17, No. 12, pp. 1822--1831. 2011.



Branching and Circular Features in High Dimensional Data
Bei Wang, B. Summa, V. Pascucci, M. Vejdemo-Johansson. In IEEE Transactions of Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG), Vol. 17, No. 12, pp. 1902--1911. 2011.
DOI: 10.1109/TVCG.2011.177
PubMed ID: 22034307

Large observations and simulations in scientific research give rise to high-dimensional data sets that present many challenges and opportunities in data analysis and visualization. Researchers in application domains such as engineering, computational biology, climate study, imaging and motion capture are faced with the problem of how to discover compact representations of high dimensional data while preserving their intrinsic structure. In many applications, the original data is projected onto low-dimensional space via dimensionality reduction techniques prior to modeling. One problem with this approach is that the projection step in the process can fail to preserve structure in the data that is only apparent in high dimensions. Conversely, such techniques may create structural illusions in the projection, implying structure not present in the original high-dimensional data. Our solution is to utilize topological techniques to recover important structures in high-dimensional data that contains non-trivial topology. Specifically, we are interested in high-dimensional branching structures. We construct local circle-valued coordinate functions to represent such features. Subsequently, we perform dimensionality reduction on the data while ensuring such structures are visually preserved. Additionally, we study the effects of global circular structures on visualizations. Our results reveal never-before-seen structures on real-world data sets from a variety of applications.

Keywords: Dimensionality reduction, circular coordinates, visualization, topological analysis



Combinatorial Laplacian Image Cloning
A. Cuadros-Vargas, L.G. Nonato, V. Pascucci. In Proceedings of XXIV Sibgrapi – Conference on Graphics, Patterns and Images, pp. 236--241. 2011.
DOI: 10.1109/SIBGRAPI.2011.7

Seamless image cloning has become one of the most important editing operation for photomontage. Recent coordinate-based methods have lessened considerably the computational cost of image cloning, thus enabling interactive applications. However, those techniques still bear severe limitations as to concavities and dynamic shape deformation. In this paper we present novel methodology for image cloning that turns out to be highly efficient in terms of computational times while still being more flexible than existing techniques. Our approach builds on combinatorial Laplacian and fast Cholesky factorization to ensure interactive image manipulation, handling holes, concavities, and dynamic deformations during the cloning process. The provided experimental results show that the proposed technique outperforms existing methods in requisites such as accuracy and flexibility.



Experiences in Disseminating Educational Visualizations
N. Andrysco, P. Rosen, V. Popescu, B. Benes, K.R. Gurney. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (7th International Symposium on Visual Computing), Vol. 2, pp. 239--248. September, 2011.
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-24031-7_24

Most visualizations produced in academia or industry have a specific niche audience that is well versed in either the often complicated visualization methods or the scientific domain of the data. Sometimes it is useful to produce visualizations that can communicate results to a broad audience that will not have the domain specific knowledge often needed to understand the results. In this work, we present our experiences in disseminating the results of two studies to national audience. The resulting visualizations and press releases allowed the studies’ researchers to educate a national, if not global, audience.



An Evaluation of 3-D Scene Exploration Using a Multiperspective Image Framework
P. Rosen, V. Popescu. In The Visual Computer, Vol. 27, No. 6-8, Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., pp. 623--632. 2011.
DOI: 10.1007/s00371-011-0599-2
PubMed ID: 22661796
PubMed Central ID: PMC3364594

Multiperspective images (MPIs) show more than what is visible from a single viewpoint and are a promising approach for alleviating the problem of occlusions. We present a comprehensive user study that investigates the effectiveness of MPIs for 3-D scene exploration. A total of 47 subjects performed searching, counting, and spatial orientation tasks using both conventional and multiperspective images. We use a flexible MPI framework that allows trading off disocclusion power for image simplicity. The framework also allows rendering MPI images at interactive rates, which enables investigating interactive navigation and dynamic 3-D scenes. The results of our experiments show that MPIs can greatly outperform conventional images. For searching, subjects performed on average 28% faster using an MPI. For counting, accuracy was on average 91% using MPIs as compared to 42% for conventional images.

Keywords: Interactive 3-D scene exploration, Navigation, Occlusions, User study, Visual interfaces



A User Study of Visualization Effectiveness Using EEG and Cognitive Load
E.W. Anderson, K.C. Potter, L.E. Matzen, J.F. Shepherd, G.A. Preston, C.T. Silva. In Computer Graphics Forum, Vol. 30, No. 3, Note: Awarded 2nd Best Paper!, Edited by H. Hauser and H. Pfister and J.J. van Wijk, pp. 791--800. June, 2011.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8659.2011.01928.x

Effectively evaluating visualization techniques is a difficult task often assessed through feedback from user studies and expert evaluations. This work presents an alternative approach to visualization evaluation in which brain activity is passively recorded using electroencephalography (EEG). These measurements are used to compare different visualization techniques in terms of the burden they place on a viewer's cognitive resources. In this paper, EEG signals and response times are recorded while users interpret different representations of data distributions. This information is processed to provide insight into the cognitive load imposed on the viewer. This paper describes the design of the user study performed, the extraction of cognitive load measures from EEG data, and how those measures are used to quantitatively evaluate the effectiveness of visualizations.



Branching and Circular Features in High Dimensional Data
SCI Technical Report, Bei Wang, B. Summa, V. Pascucci, M. Vejdemo-Johansson. No. UUSCI-2011-005, SCI Institute, University of Utah, 2011.



Topological Methods in Data Analysis and Visualization: Theory, Algorithms, and Applications (Mathematics and Visualization),
Valerio Pascucci, Xavier Tricoche, Hans Hagen, Julien Tierny. Springer, 2011.
ISBN: 978-3642150135



An End-to-End Framework for Evaluating Surface Reconstruction
SCI Technical Report, M. Berger, J.A. Levine, L.G. Nonato, G. Taubin, C.T. Silva. No. UUSCI-2011-001, SCI Institute, University of Utah, 2011.



Non-Pinhole Approximations for Interactive Rendering
P. Rosen, V. Popescu, K. Hayward, C. Wyman. In IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, Vol. 99, 2011.



Edge Maps: Representing Flow with Bounded Error
H. Bhatia, S. Jadhav, P.-T. Bremer, G. Chen, J.A. Levine, L.G. Nonato, V. Pascucci. In Proceedings of IEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium 2011, Hong Kong, China, Note: Won Best Paper Award!, pp. 75--82. March, 2011.
DOI: 10.1109/PACIFICVIS.2011.5742375



Comparative Analysis of Multidimensional, Quantitative Data
A. Lex, M. Streit, C. Partl, K. Kashofer, D. Schmalstieg. In IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Vol. 16, No. 6, pp. 1027--1035. 2010.

When analyzing multidimensional, quantitative data, the comparison of two or more groups of dimensions is a common task. Typical sources of such data are experiments in biology, physics or engineering, which are conducted in different configurations and use replicates to ensure statistically significant results.  One common way to analyze this data is to filter it using statistical methods and then run clustering algorithms to group similar values. The clustering results can be visualized using heat maps, which show differences between groups as changes in color. However, in cases where groups of dimensions have an a priori meaning, it is not desirable to cluster all dimensions combined, since a clustering algorithm can fragment continuous blocks of records.  Furthermore, identifying relevant elements in heat maps becomes  more difficult as the number of dimensions increases. To aid in such situations, we have developed Matchmaker, a visualization technique that allows researchers to arbitrarily  arrange and  compare multiple groups of dimensions at the same time.  We create separate groups of dimensions which can be clustered individually, and place them in an arrangement of heat maps reminiscent of parallel coordinates. To identify relations, we render bundled curves and ribbons between related records in different groups. We then allow interactive drill-downs using enlarged detail views of the data, which enable in-depth comparisons of clusters between groups. To reduce visual clutter, we minimize crossings between the views. This paper concludes with two case studies. The first demonstrates the value of our technique for the comparison of clustering algorithms. In the second, biologists use our system to investigate why certain strains of mice develop liver disease while others remain healthy, informally showing the efficacy of our system  when analyzing multidimensional data containing distinct groups of dimensions.



Visual Links across Applications
M. Waldner, W. Puff, A. Lex, M. Streit, D. Schmalstieg. In Proceedings of the Conference on Graphics Interface (GI '10), Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society, pp. 129--136. 2010.
ISBN: 1568817125

The tasks carried out by modern information workers become increasingly complex and time-consuming. They often require to evaluate, interpret, and compare information from different sources presented in multiple application windows. With large, high resolution displays, multiple application windows can be arranged in a way so that a large amount of information is visible simultaneously. However, individual application windows' contents and visual representations are isolated and relations between information items contained in these windows are not explicit. Thus, relating and comparing information across applications has to be executed manually by the user, which is a tedious and error-prone task.

In this paper we present visual links connecting related pieces of information across application windows and thereby guiding the user's attention to relevant information. Applications are coordinated by a management application accessible via a light-weight interface. User selections are synchronized across registered applications and visual links are rendered on top of the desktop content by a window manager. Initial user feedback was very positive and indicates that visual links improve task efficiency when analyzing information from multiple sources.



Caleydo: Design and Evaluation of a Visual Analysis Framework for Gene Expression Data in its Biological Context
A. Lex, M. Streit, E. Kruijff, D. Schmalstieg. In Proceeding of the IEEE Symposium on Pacific Visualization (PacificVis '10), pp. 57--64. 2010.
ISBN: 424466856
DOI: 10.1109/PACIFICVIS.2010.5429609

The goal of our work is to support experts in the process of hypotheses generation concerning the roles of genes in diseases. For a deeper understanding of the complex interdependencies between genes, it is important to bring gene expressions (measurements) into context with pathways. Pathways, which are models of biological processes, are available in online databases. In these databases, large networks are decomposed into small sub-graphs for better manageability. This simplification results in a loss of context, as pathways are interconnected and genes can occur in multiple instances scattered over the network. Our main goal is therefore to present all relevant information, i.e., gene expressions, the relations between expression and pathways and between multiple pathways in a simple, yet effective way. To achieve this we employ two different multiple-view approaches. Traditional multiple views are used for large datasets or highly interactive visualizations, while a 2.5D technique is employed to support a seamless navigation of multiple pathways which simultaneously links to the expression of the contained genes. This approach facilitates the understanding of the interconnection of pathways, and enables a non-distracting relation to gene expression data. We evaluated Caleydo with a group of users from the life science community. Users were asked to perform three tasks: pathway exploration, gene expression analysis and information comparison with and without visual links, which had to be conducted in four different conditions. Evaluation results show that the system can improve the process of understanding the complex network of pathways and the individual effects of gene expression regulation considerably. Especially the quality of the available contextual information and the spatial organization was rated good for the presented 2.5D setup.



MulteeSum: A Tool for Comparative Spatial and Temporal Gene Expression Data
M.D. Meyer, T. Munzner, A. DePace, H. Pfister. In IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (Proceedings of InfoVis 2010), Vol. 16, No. 6, pp. 908--917. 2010.

Cells in an organism share the same genetic information in their DNA, but have very different forms and behavior because of the selective expression of subsets of their genes. The widely used approach of measuring gene expression over time from a tissue sample using techniques such as microarrays or sequencing do not provide information about the spatial position within the tissue where these genes are expressed. In contrast, we are working with biologists who use techniques that measure gene expression in every individual cell of entire fruitfly embryos over an hour of their development, and do so for multiple closely-related subspecies of Drosophila. These scientists are faced with the challenge of integrating temporal gene expression data with the spatial location of cells and, moreover, comparing this data across multiple related species. We have worked with these biologists over the past two years to develop MulteeSum, a visualization system that supports inspection and curation of data sets showing gene expression over time, in conjunction with the spatial location of the cells where the genes are expressed — it is the first tool to support comparisons across multiple such data sets. MulteeSum is part of a general and flexible framework we developed with our collaborators that is built around multiple summaries for each cell, allowing the biologists to explore the results of computations that mix spatial information, gene expression measurements over time, and data from multiple related species or organisms. We justify our design decisions based on specific descriptions of the analysis needs of our collaborators, and provide anecdotal evidence of the efficacy of MulteeSum through a series of case studies.



Pathline: A Tool for Comparative Functional Genomics
M.D. Meyer, B. Wong, M. Styczynski, T. Munzner, H. Pfister. In Computer Graphics Forum, Vol. 29, No. 3, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 1043--1052. Aug, 2010.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8659.2009.01710.x

Biologists pioneering the new field of comparative functional genomics attempt to infer the mechanisms of gene regulation by looking for similarities and differences of gene activity over time across multiple species. They use three kinds of data: functional data such as gene activity measurements, pathway data that represent a series of reactions within a cellular process, and phylogenetic relationship data that describe the relatedness of species. No existing visualization tool can visually encode the biologically interesting relationships between multiple pathways, multiple genes, and multiple species. We tackle the challenge of visualizing all aspects of this comparative functional genomics dataset with a new interactive tool called Pathline. In addition to the overall characterization of the problem and design of Pathline, our contributions include two new visual encoding techniques. One is a new method for linearizing metabolic pathways that provides appropriate topological information and supports the comparison of quantitative data along the pathway. The second is the curvemap view, a depiction of time series data for comparison of gene activity and metabolite levels across multiple species. Pathline was developed in close collaboration with a team of genomic scientists. We validate our approach with case studies of the biologists' use of Pathline and report on how they use the tool to confirm existing findings and to discover new scientific insights.



Genome-wide synteny through highly sensitive sequence alignment: Satsuma
M. Grabherr, P. Russell, M.D. Meyer, E. Mauceli, J. Alföldi, F. Di Palma, K. Lindblad-Toh. In Bioinformatics, Vol. 26, No. 9, pp. 1145--1151. 2010.

Motivation: Comparative genomics heavily relies on alignments of large and often complex DNA sequences. From an engineering perspective, the problem here is to provide maximum sensitivity (to find all there is to find), specificity (to only find real homology) and speed (to accommodate the billions of base pairs of vertebrate genomes).

Results: Satsuma addresses all three issues through novel strategies: (i) cross-correlation, implemented via fast Fourier transform; (ii) a match scoring scheme that eliminates almost all false hits; and (iii) an asynchronous 'battleship'-like search that allows for aligning two entire fish genomes (470 and 217 Mb) in 120 CPU hours using 15 processors on a single machine.

Availability: Satsuma is part of the Spines software package, implemented in C++ on Linux. The latest version of Spines can be freely downloaded under the LGPL license from http://www.broadinstitute.org/science/programs/genome-biology/spines/ Contact: grabherr@broadinstitute.org



Metrics for Uncertainty Analysis and Visualization of Diffusion Tensor Images
F. Jiao, J.M. Phillips, J.G. Stinstra, J. Kueger, R. Varma, E. Hsu, J. Korenberg, C.R. Johnson. In Proceedings of the 5th international conference on Medical imaging and augmented reality (MIAR), Beijing, China, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg pp. 179--190. September, 2010.



Visual Exploration of High Dimensional Scalar Functions
S. Gerber, P.-T. Bremer, V. Pascucci, R.T. Whitaker. In IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Vol. 16, No. 6, IEEE, pp. 1271--1280. Nov, 2010.
DOI: 10.1109/TVCG.2010.213
PubMed ID: 20975167
PubMed Central ID: PMC3099238