High-dimensional Data in Scientific Visualization: Representation, Fusion and Difference

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Virginia Tech


Visualization has proven to be an effective means for analyzing high-dimensional data, especially Multivariate Multidimensional (MVMD) scientific data. Scientific visualization deals with data that have natural spatial mapping such as maps, buildings interiors or even your physiological body parts, while information visualization involves abstract, non-spatial data. Visual analytics uses either visualization types to gain deep inferences about scientific data or information. In recent years, a variety of techniques have been developed combining statistical and visual analysis tools to represent data of different types in one view to enable data fusion. One vital feature of such visualization tools is the support for comparison: showing the differences between two or more objects. This feature is called visual differencing, or discrimination. Visual differencing is a common requirement across different research domains, helping analysts compare different objects in the data set or compare different attributes of the same object.

From a visual analytic point of view, this research examines humans' predictable bias in interpreting visual-spatial, spatiotemporal information, and inference-making in scientific visualization. Practically, I examined different case studies from different domains such as land suitability in agriculture, spectrum sensing in software-defined radio networks, raster images in remote sensing, pattern recognition in point cloud, airflow distribution in aerodynamics, galaxy catalogs in astrophysics and protein membrane interaction in molecular dynamics. Each case required different computing power, ranging from personal computer to high performance cluster.

Based on this experience across application domains, I propose a high-performance visualization paradigm for scientific visualization that supports three key features of scientific data analysis: representations, fusion, and visual discrimination. This paradigm is informed by practical work with multiple high-performance computing and visualization platforms from desktop displays to immersive CAVE displays. In order to evaluate the applicability of the proposed paradigm, I carried out two user studies. The first user study addressed the feature of data fusion with multivariate maps and the second one addressed visual differencing with three multi-view management techniques. The high-performance visualization paradigm and the results of these studies contribute to our knowledge of efficient MVMD designs and provides scientific visualization developers with a framework to mitigate the trade-offs of scalable visualization design such as the data mappings, computing power, and output modality.



Multivariate Multidimensional Data (MVMD), Scientific Visualization, Visual Discrimination, perception, High-performance visualization Paradigm