This Week in Viz – 8/21/2009

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Randall Hand from, the web’s best site dedicated to computer graphics and scientific visualization, recap’s the week‘s best stories related to supercomputing in the visualization and graphics industries. This week he talks about the likelihood of MultiGPU by 2012, professional-grade render farm clusters, and the recent win for VAPOR at the Hayden Planetarium.

Quick Picks:

NSF TeraGrid helps the Hayden Planetarium

The NSF has created some new visuals for the Hayden Planetarium, a fantastic 3d simulation and visualization of the sun made using VAPOR.

Toomre’s doctoral student Benjamin Brown used VAPOR (Visualization and Analysis Platform for Ocean, Atmosphere, and Solar Researchers), a tool developed by NCAR in collaboration with the University of California, Davis, and Ohio State University, to generate visualizations of the Sun and to create image sequences for the movie.

You can see “Journey to the Stars”, the 25-minute journey through the universe, on the 87-foot seven-megapixel dome of the Rose Center for Earth & Space in New York City.

DOE’s (and DOD’s) Best Science Visualizations of 2009

Wired Magazine has rounded up the winners of the SciDAC2009 Visualization Night awards, and has pictures and their videos (where possible) onlien for your viewing pleasure.

Some of the most impressive images in science are produced when researchers take numerical data and represent it visually through modeling and computer graphics. The Department of Energy honored 10 of this year’s best scientific visualizations with its annual SciDAC Vis Night awards, at the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing conference SciDAC in June. Researchers submitted visualizations to the contest, and program participants voted on the best of the best. From earthquakes to jet flames, this gallery of videos and images show how beautiful and descriptive visual data can be.

FEATURE: Ars says MultiGPU Unlikely, we say Inevitable

Recently, Ars Technica finally found the JPR report on Multi-GPU from the beginning of this month, and smashed it as being pretty unlikely due to manufacturing constraints and consumer interest.  Well, I disagree and in this feature I’ll lay out why I think that Multi-GPU penetration of 30% is not only likely, it’s inevitable.

Read the full article and chime in with your thoughts.

The Value of Data Visualization to Corporate Culture

In a new article on BusinessWeek, they acknowledge that Data Visualization is becoming a prominent, and profitable, new field that’s drawing in new experts and software systems into the corporate culture.

Data visualization has nothing to do with pie charts and bar graphs. And it’s only marginally related to “infographics,” information design that tends to be about objectivity and clarification. Such representations simply offer another iteration of the data—restating it visually and making it easier to digest. Data visualization, on the other hand, is an interpretation, a different way to look at and think about data that often exposes complex patterns or correlations.

Data visualization is a way to make sense of the ever-increasing stream of information with which we’re bombarded and provides a creative antidote to the “analysis paralysis” that can result from the burden of processing such a large volume of information. “It’s not about clarifying data,” says Koblin. “It’s about contextualizing it.”

Focusing heavily on the work of Aaron Koblin, it’s a great piece to keep on-hand when your boss comes around asking about the values of visualization.