Visualization in the Era of Petascale Computing

Dr. Hans-Christian Hege
Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB)

Visualization has evolved into a discipline of its own right, drawing on theory in computer graphics, human-computer interaction, and data analysis. Effective visualization techniques have been developed that allow us to depict large amounts of complex data. In the beginning of this evolution the focus was on techniques for visualizing data of certain basic mathematical types as well as their efficient realization on graphics systems. This has led to elaborate algorithms and efficient implementations that map very well to modern graphics systems. Later the actual purpose of visualization -- namely creation of insight -- came more to the fore. Now visualization techniques are assessed also in terms of perceptual and cognitive effectiveness. Furthermore, modern visualization tools are oriented more towards data analysis questions and consequently provide increasing amounts of application-specific functionality.
        In the talk I will carve out the major lines of development and will identify significant issues that will shape the future of visual data analysis. Regarding future requirements I will focus on those in high performance computing and data-centric eScience. High performance architectures will change as well as their basic system characteristics. Additionally, new exciting application areas will arise. The related visualization challenges in petascale and exascale computing shall be discussed. Even new fundamental problems will arise. For instance, how shall we deal with the fact that the output of parallel graphics systems will exceed the bandwidth of the human visual system? An outlook will be given on the new developments that will be necessary to meet the challenging future demands and to provide visual answers to ever more complex research questions.

Hans-Christian Hege is head of the department Data Analysis and Visualization at Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB) and Honorary Professor of Scientific Visualization at German Film School - University for Digital Production, Elstal. He studied physics, mathematics and philosophy at Free University Berlin and worked as research assistant in quantum field theory and numerical physics at the Institute for Theory of Elementary Particles from 1984-1989. Since June 1989 he is with ZIB, initially as scientific consultant; in 1991 he established the Data Analysis and Visualization Department. In his group the visualization and data analysis software Amira is being developed.
        He is co-founder of the companies Mental Images (1986), Indeed -- Visual Concepts (1999, now Visage Imaging), and Lenne3D (2005). He acted as CEO of the Gesellschaft fuer Digitale Simulation (1987-1989) and Indeed -- Visual Concepts (1999-2003).
        He co-authored more than 180 research papers, and edited books and special issues on mathematical visualization. He is member of the editorial boards of "Mathematics + Visualization" (Springer book series) and "VideoMath" (Springer video/dvd series). He established the conference series Visualization and Mathematics and co-organized international summer schools, workshops, and the film festival VideoMath. He served as chair for several international conferences in Visualization and Computer Graphics and as program committee member for more than 40 IEEE, ACM, Eurographics, SIAM/EMS and other conferences.