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IEEE Visualization 1999 - October 24-29, 1999, San Francisco Airport Hyatt


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IEEE Visualization '99 Program:
Special Sessions

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Keynote Session:
Data and Visualization Corridors

Wednesday, 8:30am-10:00am

Speakers: Paul Smith and John van Rosendale, United States Department of Energy

In 1999, three workshops on data manipulation and visualization of large-scale scientific datasets were held. The workshop series, sponsored by the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, brought together experts in high-performance computing, scientific visualization, emerging computer technologies, physics, chemistry, materials science, and engineering. These experts worked to assess the needs of the scientific and engineering community, to identify current and projected capabilities, and to outline a federal research and development agenda in scientific visualization, human interfaces, and the manipulation of massive scientific datasets. The emerging concept, known as "Data and Visualization Corridors," or DVCs, could transform the way science is practiced.

This talk will summarize the results of these workshops, laying out a vision for research and development aimed at dramatically improving data handling, scientific visualization, and collaborative scientific environments. First and foremost, the goal here is to meet the driving needs of large-scale simulation. A second goal is advancing scientific computing and scientific visualization more broadly. The trend toward improved computing and visualization environments needs to be nurtured now with tools and capabilities emerging from the information age.

One outcome of this series of workshops was the set of findings and recommendations:

  • Scientific visualization is the best means available for making sense of large, complex scientific datasets
  • Current graphics and visualization technology cannot effectively cope with the volume or complexity of new scientific data; the gap between our ability to compute and our ability to make good use of the data is widening.
  • There is a real need for design of effective human interfaces for 3D immersive environments, where conventional keyboards and mice are ineffective.
  • I/O and data handling more generally remain fundamental bottlenecks.
  • The private sector will not adequately address these problems in a reasonable time frame.
  • A balanced, multi-agency federal program leveraging current commercial technologies and accelerating the research, development, and subsequent deployment of critical technologies could have major benefits to a number of critical federal mission areas.

There is a clear opportunity here for federal agencies to partner across disciplines in the development of Data and Visualization Corridors. Collaboration between agencies could avoid duplication of effort, lessons learned could be shared, and the economic clout of multiple agencies could be used to focus industrial research and development in nationally important directions. The need for DVCs and the scientific advances they will support can be clearly demonstrated. The achievement of the capabilities shown in the report is neither impossibly difficult nor prohibitively expensive— merely challenging. The issue is simply following through in a sustained way, and focusing the right resources in a timely fashion to achieve our objectives, following the technology road maps and timelines contained in this report.


Capstone Session:
ActiveSpaces: The Access Grid, Active Mural and Advanced Visualization Systems

Friday, 1:00pm-3:00pm

Speaker: Rick Stevens, Mathematics and Computer Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, and Department of Computer Science, University of Chicago

At Argonne, Chicago and elsewhere work has begun to explore the concept of integrated whole room scale visual environments. These environments consist of group work rooms that have been augmented with multiple displays including: large-format whole wall displays (e.g. ActiveMural our high-resolution rear projected tiled display), driven by PC clusters, or multi-processor visualization engines, semi-immersive or immersive displays (Workbenches, ImmersaDesks, CAVEs), multiple desktop devices, and multiple front projection systems. These rooms may also have active or passive tracking systems, multiple channels of audio support, and support for multiple wireless hand-held controllers and navigation devices. These room-sized environments can be linked via the national "Grid" to form compelling collaborative visualization environments (e.g. "The Access Grid"). We believe these systems represent a new type of visual application development target and delivery mechanism. We call these ensembles ActiveSpaces. In this talk I will explore with the audience some of the ideas we are working on to facilitate the delivery of high-end scientific visualization to groups of users and to create new types of electronically augmented spaces explicitly designed to support rapid collaborative exploration and visual analysis of complex data.

Biography: Rick Stevens is the Deputy Associate Laboratory Director for Physical, Biological and Computing Sciences and Director, Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Chicago.

Professor Stevens is interested in the development of innovative tools and techniques that enable computational scientists to solve large-scale problems more effectively on the most advanced high-performance computers. Specifically, his research focuses on three principal areas: collaborative scientific visualization environments, high-performance computer architectures, and performance modeling.

In the area of collaborative scientific visualization, he is exploring the use of virtual reality in the visualization of scientific data and processes. His efforts include improving displays, recording, and playback of virtual reality experiences; developing new methods for tracking and control and close coupling with parallel supercomputers; and devising new ways of collaborating in virtual environments. Of particular interest to him is teleimmersion —strategies for synthesizing networking and multimedia technologies to enhance the development of wide-area collaborative computational science.

In the area of high-performance computers, Prof. Stevens is studying approaches to computing at the PetaFLOPs Scale, focusing on analysis, modeling, and simulation tools for these ultra-high-performance computers. He is also particularly interested in scientific algorithms and systems software for large-scale multithreaded computer architectures and for hierarchical processor and memory architectures.

In a related area, he is investigating analytic performance models that will help researchers understand the performance relationship between high-performance computer systems and scientific applications. Prof. Stevensí goal is to enable scientific simulations to achieve the very high performance potential of next-generation computer architectures with deep memory hierarchies.


Party: VizLies '99

Tuesday, 7:30pm

People have misled with statistics and maps for years. Now it’s time to look again into what is misleading and confusing in the field of visualization. Your once-a- year big chance to do just that, in the open, will be in this special party session on Tuesday, October 26, 1999 at 7:30 PM.

You are invited to bring with you visualization lies and confusing articles (yours or others), on 35 mm slides or video. During this evening, it will be allowed to lie and confuse, but not to take credit for the work of others,* so please do not forget to mention the producers’ names.

After the informal presentations and truthful debates, the audience will choose the biggest (visualization) lie for 1999. When the evening is over, lying will be outlawed again (for another year). Quite seriously, we hope that by presenting common and uncommon errors occurring in the visual presentation of information, all of us in the visualization community will benefit, or at least have a good laugh at the expense of others.

Reservations and advance submissions are now being accepted. Please send them to Nahum Gershon, The MITRE Corporation, 1820 Dolley Madison Blvd., McLean, VA 22102-3481. Reservations and advance submissions are not required but are strongly recommended. Confused? For more information (genuine!), please contact

*It is rather allowed to professionally blame those responsible for the lies and confusion.


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The Program pages on the web will be updated as new information becomes available.

This page was last modified Wednesday, October 06, 1999


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