SCIENTIFIC VISUALIZATION DOWN TO BASICS Emiliano Martínez Rivera Multimedia Creation, Design and Engineering Master 2011 BES La Salle, Universitat Ramon Llull - Barcelona, Spain
ABSTRACT Computers help us handle and process tons of information data. Most of the time all this data is so dense, it’s almost impossible to understand from just looking at a bunch of numbers. Some of the data couldbe analyzed by computers, but most of the time there must be somebody, a real thinking person, who shall interpret the data and take conclusions from it to make decisions, analyze. Scientific Visualization is about converting numbers into a representation of reality, something more graphic so that a human being can understand and/or communicate. Index Terms— Computer Science, Computer Graphics,Infographics, Visualization, Scientific Modeling, Shape, Art, Animation, Engineering drawings, Virtual Reality, Image Processing  1. INTRODUCTION The present paper aims to describe the Scientific Visualization in clear terms so that any reader, no matter the knowledge level, can understand. 1.1. Example Definitions  "Visualization is a method of computing. It transforms the symbolic into thegeometric, enabling researchers to observe their simulations and computations. Visualization offers a method for seeing the unseen. It enriches the process of scientific discovery and fosters profound and unexpected insights. In many fields it is already revolutionizing the way scientists do science."  "Scientific visualization is a new, exciting field of computational science spurred on in largemeasure by the rapid growth in computer technology, particular in graphics workstation hardware and computer graphics software. [Visualization tools] are beginning to impact our daily lives through usage in the arts, particularly film animation, and they hold great promise for scientific research and education. When computer graphics is applied to scientific data for purposes of gaining insight,testing hypothesis, and general elucidation, we speak of scientific visualization."  "A useful definition of visualization might be the binding (or mapping) of data to a representation that can be perceived. The types of binding could be visual, auditory, tactile, etc. or a combination of these."  "Visualization is more than a method of computing. Visualization is the process of transforminginformation into a visual form, enabling users to observe the information. The resulting visual display enables the scientist or engineer to perceive visually features which are hidden in the data but nevertheless are needed for data exploration and analysis."  1.2. Synthesis of Definitions “Mapping from computer representations to perceptual (visual) representations, choosing encodingtechniques to maximize human understanding and communication”  1.3. Scientific Visualization Goals exploration/exploitation of data and information enhancing understanding of concepts and processes gaining new (unexpected, profound) insights making invisible visible effective presentation of significant features quality control of simulations, measurements increasing scientificproductivity medium of communication/collaboration
1.4. Adjacent Disciplines Following is a general comparison of Visualization (V) with some adjacent disciplines to better understand the differences: Computer Graphics (CG) Efficiency of algorithms versus effectiveness of use. Computer Vision (CV) Mapping from pictures to abstract description versus mapping from abstract description to pictures.
Image Processing (IP) Mapping from data domain to data domain versus mapping from data domain to picture domain (Visual) Perception (VP) General and scientific explanation of human abilities and limitations versus goal oriented use of visual perception in complex information presentation. Art and Design (AD) Aesthetics and style effectiveness
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