Martin Wattenberg & Fernanda Viegas have just announced their latest project, an impressive interactive visualization of windflow across the United States.
Surface wind data from the National Digital Forecast Database. (For those of you chasing top wind speed, note that maximum speed may occur over lakes or just offshore.)
These are 1-hour forecasts, downloaded once per hour. So what you’re seeing is close to live data. We’d be interested in displaying data for the entire earth; if you know of a source of detailed live wind data for the entire globe, please let us know.
FlowingData brings us a neat interactive widget from GE that combines 6000 pages of text of over 100 years of GE’s annual reports, allowing you to interactively search and examine trends over the company’s colorful history.
We’ve scanned 6,000 pages of GEs annual reports to build this interactive visualization. But why? Whats the point? Not only does this provide a rich history of how GE has always been at work building, moving, powering and curing the world, but it is a true reflection of how the economy, U.S. and the world as a whole has progressed from 1892 until 2011. By diving deep into key terms, users can uncover interesting stories about innovation over the last century.
Microsoft Research Cambridge has a neat new method for visualizing small 3D volume interactively in true 360-degree stereo through use of a GPU-accelerated algorithm connected to a special new display they call the “Vermeer”.
Vermeer is a novel interactive 360° viewable display suitable for a tabletop form factor from Microsoft Research Cambridge. It provides viewpoint corrected stereoscopic 3D graphics to simultaneous users 360° around the display, without the need for eyewear or other user instrumentation. In contrast to other systems, Vermeer allows users for the first time, to reach into and directly touch 3D objects inside a display volume. It also enables simultaneous users 360° viewing of the 3D object. Inherently other 360° systems restrict interactions to outside the display volume behind a protective glass or plastic dome.
From the description in the video, it looks like an electronic version of the “Hologram Chamber” illusion. A clever trick, but the size of it keeps it restricted to rather small displays.
The Autodesk Research team has just published “Citeology” on their website. It’s a java applet for visualizing a large collection of technical research papers. As you can see from the image above, the end result combines both the text of the papers along with a timeline and information on a chosen topic and where it appears within.
Citeology looks at the relationship between research publications through their use of citations. The names of each of the 3,502 papers published at the CHI and UIST Human Computer Interaction (HCI) conferences between 1982 and 2010 are listed by year and sorted with the most cited papers in the middle. In total, 11,699 citations were made from one article to another within this collection. These citations are represented by the curved lines in the graphic, linking each paper to those that it referenced.
I’m surprised to see this coming from Autodesk Research, not what I would typically expect from them. Nonetheless it’s an impressive visualization that’s both beautiful and functional.
The NSF has funded research that has recently culminated in a tool called the “Action Science Explorer”, a fascinating graph-visualization tool for scientific journal databases.
“While traditional search tools for scientific publication databases are still designed as single scrolling windows filled with text we believe that modern information visualization practices, including graphical user interfaces can produce breakthrough ideas,” he said. “The research team brings together skills in search, text analytics and visualization, all focused on searching large databases of scientific publications, so as to accelerate the processes of scientific research.”
A tool like this overlaid over databases like Citeseer would make finding relationships between papers and tracing references such much simpler. Hopefully this technology will be publicly available soon.
TACC’s Kelly Gaither gave a nice presentation in the Dell booth at SC on the trials and tribulations of performing data analysis and visualization “At scale”. In her context, “at scale” means on large HPC-scale datasets.
Visualization is one of the most important and commonly used methods of analyzing and interpreting digital assets. For many types of computational research, it is the only viable means of extracting information and developing understanding from data. However, non-visual data analysis techniques—statistical analysis, data mining, data reduction, etc.—also play integral roles in many areas of knowledge discovery.
TACC is using technology that I’ve begun deploying at my employer combining dedicated visualization resources with large-shared filesystems (eliminating file transfers) and client-server tools. Her talk focuses on their software (Longhorn Portal) & hardware (Longhorn & Stallion) deployments, unfortunately lacking much detail on Impact of the system beyond fuzzy “works great” remarks. It’s a good talk if you’re unfamiliar with the problems of interactive visualization at the tera/petascale, and Kelly is always fun to listen to.
A new case study from NVidia covers the creation of an impressive 3D Display wall 25 JVC monitors driven by 13 NVidia Quadroplex systems. The result is an amazing synchronized display driven by a handful of workstations, offering up 52 million pixels of scientific data in a beautiful stereoscopic interactive display.
“Most of what people see on the display is the output of an interactive application. It’s not pre-rendered but rather interactively drawn on the screen,” he explained. “For a protein crystal structure, for example, it’s just a PDB file converted into a mesh, and this software knows how to render it. For volumetric data like an MRI [magnetic resonance imaging], it’s a Z-stack of images. What this means is that instead of a clinician having to cycle through a series of single grayscale images one at a time, if we write the right tools, people can visualize the MRI in stereo 3D as a continuous surface and see things like lesions more clearly.”
I’ve seen similar displays built on a smaller scale, but this is quite possibly the largest and highest resolution 3D display built to date. Now that it’s up and running, more and more schools are coming to them to try it out.
“It’s really one of those things where the sky’s the limit,” said McCrory. “We have astronomers doing incredible work with simulating the evolution of star systems. The Business School has shown an interest in visualizing economic data to show trends. We have requests coming from every school.”
Remember last summer when the eastern hemisphere kept getting knocked offline by severed undersea cables? TeleGeography has a beautiful interactive map showing the many undersea cables that keep the world connected, and it’s far more than I ever expected.
Cables shown include international and US domestic submarine cables with a maximum upgradeable capacity of at least 5 Gbps. Cable routes are stylized to improve readability, and do not reflect the physical cable location. Similarly, cable landing stations do not show the precise coordinates of the building, and are meant to serve as a general guide to where a cable system lands.
It’s about that time again, the annual anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers & the Pentagon. As part of their coverage, the New York Times has an interactive visualization of the many aspects of the financial impact, showing data varying from physical damage to war funding and homeland security budgets.
Al Qaeda spent roughly half a million dollars to destroy the World Trade Center and cripple the Pentagon. What has been the cost to the United States? In a survey of estimates by The New York Times, the answer is $3.3 trillion, or about $7 million for every dollar Al Qaeda spent planning and executing the attacks. While not all of the costs have been borne by the government — and some are still to come — this total equals one-fifth of the current national debt. All figures are shown in today’s dollars.
We’ve talked about the impressive “Allosphere” before, the three story aluminum sphere with lots of high definition 3D projections, 128 channels of audio, and more. A new press release at Nanotechnology Now gets into the details of some of the projects using the new tech, including a great simulation of the human body build from a combination of high-resolution scans and simulations.
We are in the process of building our fluid dynamics simulation to get the precise blood flow down the arteries and veins. Then we will get the nano particle geometries from our materials scientists and build a particle simulator so they will be able to run various tests virtually,” said Kuchera-Morin.
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