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Verifiable Visualization for Isosurface Extraction

TitleVerifiable Visualization for Isosurface Extraction
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsEtiene T, Scheidegger C, Nonato LG, Kirby RM, Silva CT
Journal TitleIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Pages1227 - 1234

Visual representations of isosurfaces are ubiquitous in the scientific and engineering literature. In this paper, we present techniques to assess the behavior of isosurface extraction codes. Where applicable, these techniques allow us to distinguish whether anomalies in isosurface features can be attributed to the underlying physical process or to artifacts from the extraction process. Such scientific scrutiny is at the heart of verifiable visualization – subjecting visualization algorithms to the same verification process that is used in other components of the scientific pipeline. More concretely, we derive formulas for the expected order of accuracy (or convergence rate) of several isosurface features, and compare them to experimentally observed results in the selected codes. This technique is practical: in two cases, it exposed actual problems in implementations. We provide the reader with the range of responses they can expect to encounter with isosurface techniques, both under “normal operating conditions” and also under adverse conditions. Armed with this information – the results of the verification process – practitioners can judiciously select the isosurface extraction technique appropriate for their problem of interest, and have confidence in its behavior.