EU Regional School - Childs Seminar - Part 1

Location: AICES Seminar Room 115, 1st floor, Schinkelstr. 2, 52062 Aachen

Prof. Dr. Childs - Visualization and Analysis of Very Large Data

Computer and Information Science 
University of Oregon and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


Scientific simulations run on leading edge supercomputers produce petabytes of data with very high spatial resolution meshes, many fields stored on those meshes, and also a history of the simulation over time. Visualization and analysis are key technologies for deriving knowledge, and thus for realizing the value of the simulations come from. The usage of these technologies is varied and benefit scientists in multiple ways: confirming that simulations are running correctly, communicating the phenomena in the simulations to audiences, and exploring the data to discover new science.  

Visualizing these very large data sets creates two grand challenges. First, how to process the massive scale of the data? How to load a petabyte of data, process it, and render it at interactive frame rates? Second, how to understand the data? How can trillions of data points be effectively represented using only millions of pixels? How can the data be reduced in a way that preserves its integrity and allows scientists to gain insight?  

This course will be broken into the two distinct phases. The first phase will give a general overview of scientific visualization – how it works, how it is done in practice, and descriptions of the most commonly used algorithms, such as isocontouring, slicing, volume rendering, and particle advection. The second phase will focus on techniques for very large data – a survey of processing modalities, parallel approaches, and how to achieve efficiency. By the end of the course, students will be able to understand important concepts in visualization, as well as visualization of very large data sets.