I've been on this list for nearly 2 years and watched this community
grow and mature during that time and I know there is a great deal of
expertise and wisdom collected here in the general arena of scientific
visualization, information visualization and java/java3D.
I have written a little Java3D w/o visad and used visad 2D/3D plotting
in limited ways but have not gone deeply into either one. I've got more
experience with C/C++ and OpenGL but much prefer Java/Java3D and really
like what I see in Visad and the many uses it has been put to here by
all of you.
I'm working on the requirements and specification for a fairly ambitious
project to unify a number of different simulation and analysis tools
developed here with a single UI and set of Viz capabilities.
I have no doubts about Java/Java3D and especially Visad's relative
leverage and portability from a developers standpoint but I do have to
answer criticisms and questions from many sides about it's effeciency.
As many of you are doing scientific/information visualization, I am sure
you are always pushing the performance limits of Java3D as well as
perhaps Visad's and Java's ability to render and manipulate large,
complex and heterogenous data structures.
What I'm looking for is some "instant wisdom", if there is any to be had
around the obvious issues in performance that we will encounter using
Various large (multi-year, multi-person) models have been developed
here and simulations written to study regional, national and global
infrastructure problems. Highway transportation, electrical power, gas
pipelines, air traffic, rail traffic, communications and related
infrastructural networks are all examples of the general problem domain
that we have been working from many angles. For the most part these
efforts were seeking relatively specific answers to relatively specific
questions when they were started but new and more general questions have
been asked along the way and these various simulations and models are
being asked to relate to one another, to feed into eachother, et cetera.
Each of these simulations generates extremely large amounts of data when
run in earnest and the various tools used to visualize and analyze the
results were developed to provide overly narrow capabilities and cannot
be extended/expanded easily or they are commercial tools with only the
most general capabilities such as S+ or XGobi for example.
All of these infrastructure domain areas have some georeferencing...
some sense of being registered in a space defined by a few thousand
meters underground/sea to earth orbits... with the bulk of them a few
meters from the earth surface. The scale of interest ranges from
meters to continental, if not global. The majority of the data is
structured naturally as discrete points in space with some existence and
evolution over time and/or networks/graphs over time. Some of the data
is field oriented over areas or volumes and many fields can be imagined
to be derived which would help in analysis (density distributions of
various quantities such as population or resources or financials or even
weather as it relates to reliability or usefulness of various networks).
I know this sounds really aggressive and it is, but by trying to
apprehend the whole scope of the problem I hope to be able to specify a
subset of it which will reap much of the low-hanging fruit without
limiting long-term capabilities.
When I have looked at Visad, I do not see a lot of specific support for
network/graph-like structures but I may be missing things and may not be
creative enough to see how some of the other structures such as
arbitrary mesh data might be useful.
I apologize for the long-winded description but if any of you have been
curious enough to read the whole mess and have any ideas, input or
pointers to similar projects or other tool suites, I would appreciate
the feedback a great deal.
Decision Support and Analysis
Los Alamos National Laboratory