Fakultät Informatik

Scientific Visualization


Visualization is a key technology to foster exploratory data analysis as it enables the layering of far more data than any other analysis process could. As the visualization is the interface or view into the data, it accommodates better and faster understanding of complex processes and products. Especially in virtual and collaborative workspaces, visualization techniques must be capable of dealing with real-time constraints, both with respect to data analysis, information fusion and rendering aspects.

Research activities in Scientific Visualization cover a variety of different topics common to many areas of science and engineering. Particular interests include the exploration of large-scale data sets as they arise in medical imaging or numerical simulation techniques. In this context our dominant goal is to define Scientific Visualization as a multi-stage pipeline, including data generation and processing techniques as well as mapping and display techniques. Among others, hierarchical approaches and approaches that efficiently exploit parallelism and/or dedicated graphics hardware to interactively generate, process and visualize large-scale data sets are investigated.

In particular, our activities include the following visualization areas:

Volume Visualization

Our goal is to provide interactive, yet high quality volume rendering techniques for large data sets. In particular, we are developing cost effective parallel rendering algorithms on GPUs, and we discovering new algorithms to render unstructured grids and time-varying sequences.

Tensor Visualization

Interactive visualization of diffusion tensor fields is one the most challenging applications in medical imaging. We have developed a particle engine to explore large-scale tensor fields including a number of different visualization options. For about half a million particles, reconstruction of diffusion directions from the tensor field, time integration and rendering can be done at interactive rates. Different visualization options like oriented particles of diffusion-dependent shape, stream lines or stream tubes facilitate the use of particle tracing for diffusion tensor visualization. The proposed methods provide efficient and intuitive means to show the dynamics in diffusion tensor fields, and they accommodate the exploration of the diffusion properties of biological tissue.

Flow Visualization

Besides interactive visualization options for large flow fields, feature extraction and uncertainty visualization in such fields play an important role. Particle tracing including numerically accurate integration schemes has turned out to be a valuable method in this area. The extension to triangular and tetrahedral grids, and the visualization of unsteady flow fields is actually under investigation.

Iso-Surface Extraction and Rendering

By using the latest features of current consumer-level PC graphics cards, we develop novel approaches to indirect volume visualization techniques. Iso-Surface extraction from tetrahedral grids that allows for the interpolation of arbitrary per-vertex values and point-based rendering of high-resolution surfaces from large volumetric data sets and time-varying sequences have been successfully demonstrated.

Terrain rendering

In recent years, the rendering of high resolution terrain data including photo textures has gained increasing attention. In this work we combine the advantages of continuous LOD semi-regular meshes with the advantages of a discrete LOD hierarchy, thus avoiding any re-triangulation of such fields at run-time. The proposed method generates high quality renderings by supporting a continuous LOD representation including photo-texturing. In contrast to previous methods, the terrain is guaranteed to be refined within a user-defined screen- and world-space error. Aliasing is avoided by employing optimal geometry filtering at the best possible geometric resolution. At run-time, discrete sets of decimated mesh structures are transmitted progressively to the GPU, resulting in high bandwidth efficiency.



 High-Quality Cartographic Roads on High-Resolution DEMs
 Interactive Separating Streak Surfaces
 GPU-Aware Hybrid Terrain Rendering
 GPU-Based Euclidean Distance Transforms and Their Application to Volume Rendering
 Stress Tensor Field Visualization for Implant Planning in Orthopedics
 Interactive Streak Surface Visualization on the GPU
 Exploring the Millennium Run - Scalable Rendering of Large-Scale Cosmological Datasets
 GPU Ray-Casting for Scalable Terrain Rendering
 Real-time Approaches for Model-based PIV and Visual Fluid Analysis
 GPU-Based Real-Time Discrete Euclidean Distance Transforms With Precise Error Bounds
Efficient Geometry Compression for GPU-based Decoding in Realtime Terrain Rendering
 Computational Steering for Patient-Specific Implant Planning in Orthopedics
 Interactive Simulation and Visualization in Joint Replacement Surgery
 Real-Time Simulation and Visualization of Deformable Objects
 Advanced Volume Rendering for Surgical Training Environments
 Real-Time Editing, Synthesis, and Rendering of Infinite Landscapes on GPUs
 A Generic and Scalable Pipeline for GPU Tetrahedral Grid Rendering
 ClearView: An Interactive Context Preserving Hotspot Visualization Technique
 Advanced Volume Rendering Techniques for Medical Applications
 A Multigrid Framework for Real-Time Simulation of Deformable Bodies
Realistic and Interactive Simulation of Rivers
 The Application of GPU Particle Tracing to Diffusion Tensor Field Visualization
 Interactive Simulation and Rendering of Heterogeneous Deformable Bodies
 GPU Construction and Transparent Rendering of Iso-Surfaces
 A Multigrid Framework for Real-Time Simulation of Deformable Volumes
 GPU Simulation and Rendering of Volumetric Effects for Computer Games and Virtual Environments
 A Particle System for Interactive Visualization of 3D Flows
 UberFlow: A GPU-Based Particle Engine
 Acceleration Techniques for GPU-based Volume Rendering
 Compression Domain Volume Rendering
 Local exact particle tracing on unstructured grids



- In collaboration with partners from industry, we have a number of thesis topics available in the area of point-based rendering, geo-localization using public data, scene fusion from different viewpoints. If you are interested, please contact  westermann(at)tum.de


- One PhD position on   Turbulence Visualization is available at the Computer Graphics & Visualization group.