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Scientific Visualizations: A Bridge to Knowledge


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A scientific visualization.

Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute founding director Chris Johnson explains visualizations help explore or explain data.

Credit: Chris Johnson

Can you describe the visualization discovery and analysis process?

Visualization focuses on helping people explore or explain data through software systems that provide static or interactive visual representations. Visualization designers exploit the high bandwidth channel of human visual perception to enable people to comprehend information orders of magnitude more quickly than they could through reading raw numbers or text.

Visualization is useful for detecting patterns, assessing situations, and prioritizing tasks. Visualization is the tool through which computation addresses an end user and enables the user to derive knowledge from data.

Data encompasses the range from a single bit to time-varying 3D tensor fields; to multimodal data sources requiring alignment, registration, and fusion; and to nonspatial high-dimensional information sources integrating broad areas of heterogeneous knowledge.

Visualization facilitates the reasoning process by supporting the human capacity to perceive, understand, and reason about complex large-scale data. It is a highly interdisciplinary field that encompasses cognitive and perceptual science, data analysis and management, knowledge representation and discovery, scientific and information visualization, and human-computer interaction (HCI).

 

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