Scientific Visual Data Analysis and Multimedia


The visual display of quantitative information can be a useful tool in our learning experiences both in the classroom and laboratory. Recent technologies, such as three-dimensional x-ray and MRI tomography systems, Doppler velocity field measurement systems, and supercomputer simulations of various physical phenomena in three dimensions, have created a new demand for interpretation, analysis, and display of massive quantities of data. With well-designed visual tools, the researcher can analysze these data sets more efficiently. In some cases visual analysis can lead to new discoveries.

This course is designed to introduce the student to new state-of-the-art computer graphic tools for scientific analysis and multimedia presentation of results. The course will focus on how to use existing (not develop) graphic tools in research and educational projects. The following lectures will demonstrate how visual tools were first used by scientists such as Galileo and others in their scientific investigations and how we can extend these time-honored principles to the computer graphic workstations. With these results organized into a multimedia format we can then educate students in the classroom, communicate results to sponsors and colleagues at conference presentations and in their offices with Web browsers.

In this course you will develop an increased understanding of how to use existing visual tools for interpretation and analysis of large data sets where relationships between physical properties can be better understood or possibly new relationships could be discovered. You will also learn how to use multimedia software to effectively communicate your project to others. Emphasis will be placed on how to create an effective multimedia presentation. Much of the course will include one-on-one hands-on guidance from instructors.

The course is organized into two sections: first we introduce you to how computer graphics can be used for discovery and second how computer graphics can be used for presentation. There are several exercises and related homework assignments that will assist you in learning the various visual tools and methodologies. Each homework assignment should take about 4 hours.

There will also be lab sessions with instructors after some lectures. Although we will help introduce you to some of the various tools, much of the effort will be your initiative to read manuals and construct your own examples. The instructors will show you how to develop visual methodologies that can be used to gain insight into the physics of a particular application. You must learn on your own with the aid of some exercises how to work in a UNIX shell and how to use the vi editor, ssh, scp, PV-Wave, Macromedia authoring tools, etc. The instructors can only introduce you to a few of the many tools available and provide a few examples.

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R.D. Kriz
Va Tech
College of Engineering
Revised 06/27/06