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Report on the IEEE Visualization `94 Conference

17- 21 October 1994
Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner,
Washington DC, USA.


Visualization `94 is the fifth conference in a series devoted to data visualization. The conference is sponsored by the IEEE Technical Committee on Computer Graphics in cooperation with ACM SIGGRAPH. This year the conference attracted over 450 international visualization users and researchers. The format of the conference involved a number of tutorials, panels, case studies, demonstrations and over 40 refereed technical papers. The proceedings from the conference consist of the technical papers and case studies (450 pages including 45 pages of colour plates), two video tapes with sequences to supplement the papers and a CD which contains the conference proceedings in AdobeAcrobat format. More details on how to obtain these can be found at the end of this article.


Over the first three days the conference held a number of tutorials which included Volume visualization algorithms and applications, Multi-dimensional geometry and multi-variate problems and Analysis and processing of environmental datasets. The volume visualization tutorial was presented by three prominent researchers in this field over the past fifteen years: Arie Kaufman, Bill Lorenson and Roni Yagel. The tutorial covered basic nomenclature, surface extraction, volume shading and synthesis with the tutorial notes providing a good source of references for researchers relatively new to this field. The tutorial covering multi-variate problems described a number of techniques and very clearly illustrated their use with a number of real world applications. These included the analysis of complex systems such as gold prices over the previous seven years with respect to eight other stock market variables, disease spread throughout honey bees in Switzerland, a model of the Peruvian economy and conflict resolution for air traffic controllers.

Keynote Address

The co-chair Nahum Geshon opened the main conference and welcomed participants. This year's opening address was given by Gregory C Simon, the Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to Vice President Al Gore. Histalk was entitled "The Idea of Information: The Gene in the Machine" and was concerned with how computer systems and other forms of digital storage are converging with natural information systems such as DNA genetic encoding. He concluded by suggesting in the future biological and machine-like principles will be used together to optimize new, complex artificial and natural organisms. The perfectly executed talk made use of a plethora of media presentation techniques including mosaics of still images, computer animations, live video sequences and carefully chosen audio clips bound together using the Silicon Graphics tool Showcase.

During questions Mr Simon also revealed that in addition to email access to the Whitehouse they would also be accessible via the World Wide Web ( and would use this to disseminate certain policy documents to the community.

Honorary Chair Address

The honorary chair address was presented by Professor Andries van Dam, Brown University, US, titled "Interactive Visualization via 3D User Interfaces". This superb presentation addressed some of the deficiencies in traditional 2D widgets for interacting with visualization environments and use in virtual reality. The talk covered direct manipulation and 3D widgets for control of 3D interfaces and previewed some work that had been undertaken to develop a tool box that allowed the creation and definition of 3D widgets and their associated interaction. Some of their work, sponsored by the NASA Ames Virtual Wind Tunnel project, illustrated these techniques in use. This also included a method of using a computer representation of smoke rings to visualize flow fields.

Best Paper and Case Study Award

The prize for the best paper was shared this year between "Visualizing Flow over Curvilinear Grid Surfaces using Line Integral Convolution", L K Forsell, NASA Ames Research Center and "The Topology of Symmetric, Second-Order Tensor Fields", T Delmarcelle and L Hesselink, Stanford University. The first paper extended the Line Integral Convolution (LIC) technique for imaging and animating vector fields which was first introduced by Cabral and Leedom. The extensions were for flow over parametric surfaces specifically curvilinear grids, to cater for misleading aspects when animating over curvilinear grids and a technique to visualize vector magnitude as well as direction. The second paper presented a study of symmetric, second-order tensor fields with the goal of representing their structure by extending ideas in vector field topology. This involved identifying two forms of degenerate points that could be combined to form more familiar singularities such as saddle, nodes, centres or foci. The paper also presented a topological rule that extended to tensor fields the Poincare-Hopf theorem for vector fields.

The best case study award was given to "Visualization of 3D Ultrasonic Data" G Sakas, L A Schreyer, M Grimm, Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics, Darmstadt, Germany. Ultrasound is a popular non-invasive, non-radioactive tomographic technique but producing 3D representations from the data is not particularly easy due to the noisy, fuzzy nature of the ultrasound images. The paper detailed a number of filtering techniques that have been used to improve the data along with some semi-automatic segmentation tools to isolate interesting features from the images. The study also presented their improved surface extraction procedures to allow high quality images to be produced in a few seconds on a standard workstation thus making its use suitable for routine clinical applications.

Further information The Visualization `94 proceedings are referenced by the following numbers:

IEEE Computer Society Press Order Number 6627-02
IEEE Catalogue Number 94CH35707
ISBN 0-8186-6627-7
ISSN 1070-2385

Additional copies of the conferences proceedings can be ordered from the following address:

IEEE Computer Society Press, Customer Service Center
10662 Los Vaqueros Circle, PO Box 3014
Los Alamitos, CA 90720-1264, USA
Tel: +1 714 821 8380
Fax:+1 714 821 4641

Call for Participation for Visualization `95
The conference dates for next year are the 30 October - 3 November 1995, Atlanta, US. If you are interested in submitting a paper, case study, panel, tutorial or mini-workshop proposal then please note that the deadline in most cases is the 31 March 1995. For more information on the conference next year please contact either of the co-chairs:

Bill Ribarsky, Conference Co-chair
Tel: +1 404 894 6148

Lloyd Trenish, Program Co-chair
Tel: +1 914 784 5038

Steve Larkin
AGOCG, Visualization Support Officer
Computer Graphics Unit, Manchester Computing Centre
University of Manchester. Manchester M13 9PL
Tel: +44 61 275 6095
Fax: +44 61 275 6040