Ballroom 2/3/4

Scientific Visualization: Bridging the Complexity Threshold
Chris Johnson, University of Utah

If we researchers in scientific visualization want our work to be useful in "real world" applications, we must effectively handle the complexity of such systems. In the beginning, computer hardware and algorithms were vastly overwhelmed by such complexity. Over the years, as hardware became faster and algorithms more sophisticated, visualization researchers have created numerous (sometimes even useful) techniques for analyzing data.

For real world applications, one must cross what I think of as a "complexity threshold" in order to have a significant impact within the application domain. Recently, challenged by other researchers facing real-world problems (neurosurgeons requiring assistance with surgical planning, for example), I have had the experience of crossing that threshold for real world applications. This experience only reinforces my belief that visualization will become ever more integral to the scientific discovery and analysis process as we bridge application's complexity thresholds.

In this talk, I will review the state-of-the-art in visualization techniques, discuss their use, both current and potential, in real world applications, and present an outline for a future visualization research agenda.

Professor Johnson directs the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute at the University of Utah where he is a Professor of Computer Science and holds faculty appointments in the Departments of Physics, and Bioengineering. His research interests are in the area of scientific computing. Particular interests include inverse and imaging problems, adaptive methods, problem solving environments, large scale computational problems in medicine, and scientific visualization. Professor Johnson was awarded a Young Investigator's (FIRST) Award from the NIH in 1992, the NSF National Young Investigator (NYI) Award in 1994, and the NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow (PFF) award from President Clinton in 1995. In 1996 he received a DOE Computational Science Award and in 1997 received the Par Excellence Award from the University of Utah Alumni Association and the Presidential Teaching Scholar Award. In 1999, Professor Johnson was Awarded the Governor's Medal for Science and Technology.