T. M. Athawale, B. J. Stanislawski, S. Sane,, C. R. Johnson. Visualizing Interactions Between Solar Photovoltaic Farms and the Atmospheric Boundary Layer, In Twelfth ACM International Conference on Future Energy Systems, pp. 377--381. 2021.
The efficiency of solar panels depends on the operating temperature. As the panel temperature rises, efficiency drops. Thus, the solar energy community aims to understand the factors that influence the operating temperature, which include wind speed, wind direction, turbulence, ambient temperature, mounting configuration, and solar cell material. We use high-resolution numerical simulations to model the flow and thermal behavior of idealized solar farms. Because these simulations model such complex behavior, advanced visualization techniques are needed to investigate and understand the results. Here, we present advanced 3D visualizations of numerical simulation results to illustrate the flow and heat transport in an idealized solar farm. The findings can be used to understand how flow behavior influences module temperatures, and vice versa.
N. Marshak, P. Grosset, A. Knoll, J. P. Ahrens, C. R. Johnson. Evaluation of GPU Volume Rendering in PyTorch Using Data-Parallel Primitives, In Eurographics Symposium on Parallel Graphics and Visualization (EGPGV), 2021.
Data-parallel programming (DPP) has attracted considerable interest from the visualization community, fostering major software initiatives such as VTK-m. However, there has been relatively little recent investigation of data-parallel APIs in higherlevel languages such as Python, which could help developers sidestep the need for low-level application programming in C++ and CUDA. Moreover, machine learning frameworks exposing data-parallel primitives, such as PyTorch and TensorFlow, have exploded in popularity, making them attractive platforms for parallel visualization and data analysis. In this work, we benchmark data-parallel primitives in PyTorch, and investigate its application to GPU volume rendering using two distinct DPP formulations: a parallel scan and reduce over the entire volume, and repeated application of data-parallel operators to an array of rays. We find that most relevant DPP primitives exhibit performance similar to a native CUDA library. However, our volume rendering implementation reveals that PyTorch is limited in expressiveness when compared to other DPP APIs. Furthermore, while render times are sufficient for an early ''proof of concept'', memory usage acutely limits scalability.
S. Sane, T. Athawale,, C.R. Johnson. Visualization of Uncertain Multivariate Data via Feature Confidence Level-Sets, In EuroVis 2021, 2021.
S. Sane, C.R. Johnson, H. Childs. Investigating the Use of In Situ Reduction via Lagrangian Representations for Cosmology and Seismology Applications, In ICCS 2021, 2021.
S. Sane, A. Yenpure, R. Bujack, M. Larsen, K. Moreland, C. Garth, C. R. Johnson,, H. Childs.
Scalable In Situ Computation of Lagrangian Representations via Local Flow Maps, In Eurographics Symposium on Parallel Graphics and Visualization, The Eurographics Association, 2021.
In situ computation of Lagrangian flow maps to enable post hoc time-varying vector field analysis has recently become an active area of research. However, the current literature is largely limited to theoretical settings and lacks a solution to address scalability of the technique in distributed memory. To improve scalability, we propose and evaluate the benefits and limitations of a simple, yet novel, performance optimization. Our proposed optimization is a communication-free model resulting in local Lagrangian flow maps, requiring no message passing or synchronization between processes, intrinsically improving scalability, and thereby reducing overall execution time and alleviating the encumbrance placed on simulation codes from communication overheads. To evaluate our approach, we computed Lagrangian flow maps for four time-varying simulation vector fields and investigated how execution time and reconstruction accuracy are impacted by the number of GPUs per compute node, the total number of compute nodes, particles per rank, and storage intervals. Our study consisted of experiments computing Lagrangian flow maps with up to 67M particle trajectories over 500 cycles and used as many as 2048 GPUs across 512 compute nodes. In all, our study contributes an evaluation of a communication-free model as well as a scalability study of computing distributed Lagrangian flow maps at scale using in situ infrastructure on a modern supercomputer.
Investigating In Situ Reduction via Lagrangian Representations for Cosmology and Seismology Applications, In Computational Science -- ICCS 2021, Springer International Publishing, pp. 436--450. 2021.
Although many types of computational simulations produce time-varying vector fields, subsequent analysis is often limited to single time slices due to excessive costs. Fortunately, a new approach using a Lagrangian representation can enable time-varying vector field analysis while mitigating these costs. With this approach, a Lagrangian representation is calculated while the simulation code is running, and the result is explored after the simulation. Importantly, the effectiveness of this approach varies based on the nature of the vector field, requiring in-depth investigation for each application area. With this study, we evaluate the effectiveness for previously unexplored cosmology and seismology applications. We do this by considering encumbrance (on the simulation) and accuracy (of the reconstructed result). To inform encumbrance, we integrated in situ infrastructure with two simulation codes, and evaluated on representative HPC environments, performing Lagrangian in situ reduction using GPUs as well as CPUs. To inform accuracy, our study conducted a statistical analysis across a range of spatiotemporal configurations as well as a qualitative evaluation. In all, we demonstrate effectiveness for both cosmology and seismology—time-varying vector fields from these domains can be reduced to less than 1% of the total data via Lagrangian representations, while maintaining accurate reconstruction and requiring under 10% of total execution time in over 80% of our experiments.
W. Usher, X. Huang, S. Petruzza, S. Kumar, S. R. Slattery, S. T. Reeve, F. Wang, C. R. Johnson,, V. Pascucci. Adaptive Spatially Aware I/O for Multiresolution Particle Data Layouts, In IPDPS, 2021.
We propose a data-driven space-filling curve method for 2D and 3D visualization. Our flexible curve traverses the data elements in the spatial domain in a way that the resulting linearization better preserves features in space compared to existing methods. We achieve such data coherency by calculating a Hamiltonian path that approximately minimizes an objective function that describes the similarity of data values and location coherency in a neighborhood. Our extended variant even supports multiscale data via quadtrees and octrees. Our method is useful in many areas of visualization, including multivariate or comparative visualization,ensemble visualization of 2D and 3D data on regular grids, or multiscale visual analysis of particle simulations. The effectiveness of our method is evaluated with numerical comparisons to existing techniques and through examples of ensemble and multivariate datasets.
The term “in situ processing” has evolved over the last decade to mean both a specific strategy for visualizing and analyzing data and an umbrella term for a processing paradigm. The resulting confusion makes it difficult for visualization and analysis scientists to communicate with each other and with their stakeholders. To address this problem, a group of over fifty experts convened with the goal of standardizing terminology. This paper summarizes their findings and proposes a new terminology for describing in situ systems. An important finding from this group was that in situ systems are best described via multiple, distinct axes: integration type, proximity, access, division of execution, operation controls, and output type. This paper discusses these axes, evaluates existing systems within the axes, and explores how currently used terms relate to the axes.
F. Wang, N. Marshak, W. Usher, C. Burstedde, A. Knoll, T. Heister, C. R. Johnson. CPU Ray Tracing of Tree-Based Adaptive Mesh Refinement Data, In Eurographics Conference on Visualization (EuroVis) 2020, Vol. 39, No. 3, 2020.
Adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) techniques allow for representing a simulation’s computation domain in an adaptive fashion. Although these techniques have found widespread adoption in high-performance computing simulations, visualizing their data output interactively and without cracks or artifacts remains challenging. In this paper, we present an efficient solution for direct volume rendering and hybrid implicit isosurface ray tracing of tree-based AMR (TB-AMR) data. We propose a novel reconstruction strategy, Generalized Trilinear Interpolation (GTI), to interpolate across AMR level boundaries without cracks or discontinuities in the surface normal. We employ a general sparse octree structure supporting a wide range of AMR data, and use it to accelerate volume rendering, hybrid implicit isosurface rendering and value queries. We demonstrate that our approach achieves artifact-free isosurface and volume rendering and provides higher quality output images compared to existing methods at interactive rendering rates.
L. Zhou, M. Rivinius, C. R. Johnson,, D. Weiskopf. Photographic High-Dynamic-Range Scalar Visualization, In IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Vol. 26, No. 6, IEEE, pp. 2156-2167. 2020.
We propose a photographic method to show scalar values of high dynamic range (HDR) by color mapping for 2D visualization. We combine (1) tone-mapping operators that transform the data to the display range of the monitor while preserving perceptually important features based on a systematic evaluation and (2) simulated glares that highlight high-value regions. Simulated glares are effective for highlighting small areas (of a few pixels) that may not be visible with conventional visualizations; through a controlled perception study, we confirm that glare is preattentive. The usefulness of our overall photographic HDR visualization is validated through the feedback of expert users.
We present a framework for the analysis of uncertainty in isocontour extraction. The marching squares (MS) algorithm for isocontour reconstruction generates a linear topology that is consistent with hyperbolic curves of a piecewise bilinear interpolation. The saddle points of the bilinear interpolant cause topological ambiguity in isocontour extraction. The midpoint decider and the asymptotic decider are well-known mathematical techniques for resolving topological ambiguities. The latter technique investigates the data values at the cell saddle points for ambiguity resolution. The uncertainty in data, however, leads to uncertainty in underlying bilinear interpolation functions for the MS algorithm, and hence, their saddle points. In our work, we study the behavior of the asymptotic decider when data at grid vertices is uncertain. First, we derive closed-form distributions characterizing variations in the saddle point values for uncertain bilinear interpolants. The derivation assumes uniform and nonparametric noise models, and it exploits the concept of ratio distribution for analytic formulations. Next, the probabilistic asymptotic decider is devised for ambiguity resolution in uncertain data using distributions of the saddle point values derived in the first step. Finally, the confidence in probabilistic topological decisions is visualized using a colormapping technique. We demonstrate the higher accuracy and stability of the probabilistic asymptotic decider in uncertain data with regard to existing decision frameworks, such as deciders in the mean field and the probabilistic midpoint decider, through the isocontour visualization of synthetic and real datasets.
A statistical framework for quantification and visualisation of positional uncertainty in deep brain stimulation electrodes, In Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering: Imaging & Visualization, Vol. 7, No. 4, Taylor & Francis, pp. 438-449. 2019.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an established therapy for treating patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Patient-specific computational modelling and visualisation have been shown to play a key role in surgical and therapeutic decisions for DBS. The computational models use brain imaging, such as magnetic resonance (MR) and computed tomography (CT), to determine the DBS electrode positions within the patient’s head. The finite resolution of brain imaging, however, introduces uncertainty in electrode positions. The DBS stimulation settings for optimal patient response are sensitive to the relative positioning of DBS electrodes to a specific neural substrate (white/grey matter). In our contribution, we study positional uncertainty in the DBS electrodes for imaging with finite resolution. In a three-step approach, we first derive a closed-form mathematical model characterising the geometry of the DBS electrodes. Second, we devise a statistical framework for quantifying the uncertainty in the positional attributes of the DBS electrodes, namely the direction of longitudinal axis and the contact-centre positions at subvoxel levels. The statistical framework leverages the analytical model derived in step one and a Bayesian probabilistic model for uncertainty quantification. Finally, the uncertainty in contact-centre positions is interactively visualised through volume rendering and isosurfacing techniques. We demonstrate the efficacy of our contribution through experiments on synthetic and real datasets. We show that the spatial variations in true electrode positions are significant for finite resolution imaging, and interactive visualisation can be instrumental in exploring probabilistic positional variations in the DBS lead.
M. Han, I. Wald, W. Usher, Q. Wu, F. Wang, V. Pascicci, C. D. Hansen, C. R. Johnson. Ray Tracing Generalized Tube Primitives: Method and Applications, In Computer Graphics Forum, Vol. 38, No. 3, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 2019.
We present a general high-performance technique for ray tracing generalized tube primitives. Our technique efficiently supports tube primitives with fixed and varying radii, general acyclic graph structures with bifurcations, and correct transparency with interior surface removal. Such tube primitives are widely used in scientific visualization to represent diffusion tensor imaging tractographies, neuron morphologies, and scalar or vector fields of 3D flow. We implement our approach within the OSPRay ray tracing framework, and evaluate it on a range of interactive visualization use cases of fixed- and varying-radius streamlines, pathlines, complex neuron morphologies, and brain tractographies. Our proposed approach provides interactive, high-quality rendering, with low memory overhead.
Adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) is a key technology for large-scale simulations that allows for adaptively changing the simulation mesh resolution, resulting in significant computational and storage savings. However, visualizing such AMR data poses a significant challenge due to the difficulties introduced by the hierarchical representation when reconstructing continuous field values. In this paper, we detail a comprehensive solution for interactive isosurface rendering of block-structured AMR data. We contribute a novel reconstruction strategy—the octant method—which is continuous, adaptive and simple to implement. Furthermore, we present a generally applicable hybrid implicit isosurface ray-tracing method, which provides better rendering quality and performance than the built-in sampling-based approach in OSPRay. Finally, we integrate our octant method and hybrid isosurface geometry into OSPRay as a module, providing the ability to create high-quality interactive visualizations combining volume and isosurface representations of BS-AMR data. We evaluate the rendering performance, memory consumption and quality of our method on two gigascale block-structured AMR datasets.
A. Warner, J. Tate, B. Burton,, C.R. Johnson.
A High-Resolution Head and Brain Computer Model for Forward and Inverse EEG Simulation, In bioRxiv, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Feb, 2019.
To conduct computational forward and inverse EEG studies of brain electrical activity, researchers must construct realistic head and brain computer models, which is both challenging and time consuming. The availability of realistic head models and corresponding imaging data is limited in terms of imaging modalities and patient diversity. In this paper, we describe a detailed head modeling pipeline and provide a high-resolution, multimodal, open-source, female head and brain model. The modeling pipeline specifically outlines image acquisition, preprocessing, registration, and segmentation; three-dimensional tetrahedral mesh generation; finite element EEG simulations; and visualization of the model and simulation results. The dataset includes both functional and structural images and EEG recordings from two high-resolution electrode configurations. The intermediate results and software components are also included in the dataset to facilitate modifications to the pipeline. This project will contribute to neuroscience research by providing a high-quality dataset that can be used for a variety of applications and a computational pipeline that may help researchers construct new head models more efficiently.
L. Zhou, D. Weiskopf, C. R. Johnson.
Perceptually guided contrast enhancement based on viewing distance, In Journal of Computer Languages, Vol. 55, Elsevier, pp. 100911. 2019.
We propose an image-space contrast enhancement method for color-encoded visualization. The contrast of an image is enhanced through a perceptually guided approach that interfaces with the user with a single and intuitive parameter of the virtual viewing distance. To this end, we analyze a multiscale contrast model of the input image and test the visibility of bandpass images of all scales at a virtual viewing distance. By adapting weights of bandpass images with a threshold model of spatial vision, this image-based method enhances contrast to compensate for contrast loss caused by viewing the image at a certain distance. Relevant features in the color image can be further emphasized by the user using overcompensation. The weights can be assigned with a simple band-based approach, or with an efficient pixel-based approach that reduces ringing artifacts. The method is efficient and can be integrated into any visualization tool as it is a generic image-based post-processing technique. Using highly diverse datasets, we show the usefulness of perception compensation across a wide range of typical visualizations.
In this paper, we propose a perceptually-guided visualization sharpening technique.We analyze the spectral behavior of an established comprehensive perceptual model to arrive at our approximated model based on an adapted weighting of the bandpass images from a Gaussian pyramid. The main benefit of this approximated model is its controllability and predictability for sharpening color-mapped visualizations. Our method can be integrated into any visualization tool as it adopts generic image-based post-processing, and it is intuitive and easy to use as viewing distance is the only parameter. Using highly diverse datasets, we show the usefulness of our method across a wide range of typical visualizations.
A statistical framework for quantification and visualisation of positional uncertainty in deep brain stimulation electrodes, In Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering: Imaging & Visualization, Taylor & Francis, pp. 1-12. 2018.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an established therapy for treating patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease. Patient-specific computational modelling and visualisation have been shown to play a key role in surgical and therapeutic decisions for DBS. The computational models use brain imaging, such as magnetic resonance (MR) and computed tomography (CT), to determine the DBS electrode positions within the patient's head. The finite resolution of brain imaging, however, introduces uncertainty in electrode positions. The DBS stimulation settings for optimal patient response are sensitive to the relative positioning of DBS electrodes to a specific neural substrate (white/grey matter). In our contribution, we study positional uncertainty in the DBS electrodes for imaging with finite resolution. In a three-step approach, we first derive a closed-form mathematical model characterising the geometry of the DBS electrodes. Second, we devise a statistical framework for quantifying the uncertainty in the positional attributes of the DBS electrodes, namely the direction of longitudinal axis and the contact-centre positions at subvoxel levels. The statistical framework leverages the analytical model derived in step one and a Bayesian probabilistic model for uncertainty quantification. Finally, the uncertainty in contact-centre positions is interactively visualised through volume rendering and isosurfacing techniques. We demonstrate the efficacy of our contribution through experiments on synthetic and real datasets. We show that the spatial variations in true electrode positions are significant for finite resolution imaging, and interactive visualisation can be instrumental in exploring probabilistic positional variations in the DBS lead.