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From the time NCSA opened its doors, scientific visualization has played an important role. The visualization team of David Bock and Mark Van Moer provides technical expertise and assistance to computational scientists and researchers desiring to represent and analyze data generated by computational models. This facilitates the understanding of the simulated phenomena.

Their expertise has long been available to those using NCSA computational resources as they, along with Dave Semeraro and Rob Sisneros, comprise NCSA’s Advanced Digital Services Visualization Group. Since July 2011, Bock and Van Moer have been part of the XSEDE project’s Extended Collaborative Support Service, expanding the base of those who can take advantage of their special skills.

Bock and Van Moer work with users to identify the best tools for their needs and assist in effective operation of visualization software. In addition, they also develop visualization solutions using custom visualization software to generate publication-quality imagery and animations for posters, papers, and journal articles.

For example, Bock has been working with astrophysicist Dean Townsley of the University of Alabama to visualize his simulations of a supernova. Using a custom volume rendering system he developed, Bock employs a variety of techniques to provide better understanding of the data for the researchers. Bock investigated volume representations by experimenting first with various color and alpha transfer functions without taking into account physically-based lighting using default absorption, scattering, and emission values, then added lighting and self-shadowing to the volume rendering scene.

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