SPRING 2004 Noon-1pm D106 LSRC

Richard Lucic

Dept. of Computer Science

Not only is e-commerce alive and well, Web-based commercial activity continues to advance at a startling pace in both volume and technological sophistication. Most "bricks and mortar" enterprises are also embracing e-commerce for both the efficiency and expanded customer base advantages the Web provides. Commercial interests are rapidly driving the presentational aspects of the web toward a "standard" that will provide the advantages of short page load times, low bandwidth consumption, and cross-browser/cross-platform uniformity. Since the Web is inherently a visual medium, this talk will explore the advanced technologies being employed for both marketing on the Web and for improving the efficiency of business processes. A demonstration of the visual impact of Web standards will be presented, and we will analyze some interesting examples of cyber marketing and branding.

Jan 23 - Tracking Hand Gestures

Carlo Tomasi, Ph. D

Dept. of Computer Science

Hand gestures are examples of fast and complex motions. Computers fail to track these in fast video, but sleight of hand fools humans as well: what happens too quickly we just cannot see. I will describe a 3D tracker for these types of motions that relies on the recognition of familiar configurations in 2D images (classification), and fills the gaps in-between (interpolation). I will illustrate this idea with experiments on hand motions similar to finger spelling. The penalty for a recognition failure is often small: if two configurations are confused, they are often similar to each other, and the illusion works well enough, for instance, to drive a graphics animation of the moving hand.

Jan 30 - Fundamental Graphic Design Principles

Anya Belkina

Department of Art & Art History

The discussion will focus on several fundamental graphic design principles such as unity, variety and balance. Other issues for discussion may include: negative space usage, creative cropping, letterform customization and page layout based on grid structures.

Links associated with the lecture

Feb 6 - Component-Wise Model of the BOLD Response in the Human Primary Visual Cortex

Emma Buneci

Dept. of Computer Science

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a relatively new procedure that uses MR imaging to measure the quick, small metabolic changes that take place in an active part of the brain. When neural activity increases in a region of the brain, the local MR signal produced in that part of the brain increases by a small amount due to changes in blood oxygenation. This Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) effect is the basis of most of the fMRI studies done today that map patterns of activation in the working human brain. Typical fMRI cognitive experiments present varying stimuli (eg: auditory, visual, tactile, etc) which invoke varying hemodynamic responses (HDRs) in different regions of the brain.

Many fMRI studies have used the simplified assumption that the hemodynamic response is linear with stimulus duration. Although not true, the assumption has avoided complications and has represented a fruitful approach to the analysis of the fMRI data. We have further investigated the relationship between the hemodynamic response and the stimulus durations of very short visual stimuli (50 ms - 1500 ms). I will
present the results of our hypothesis-driven research which has proposed a component-wise model of the hemodynamic response assuming activations from phasic and tonic neuronal cell populations which respond to the onset, sustained, and offset for the duration of a presented stimulus.

Feb 13 - DELTA Smart House Project : Underutilitized Solutions to Engineering Problems in the Home (multimedia suppliments: error.wav, filtered.wav, walkthrough.avi, MixL_BeetovenR.wav)

Mark Younger

Pratt School of Engineering

The DELTA Smart House, to be constructed on Duke's central campus by late 2005, will be a living laboratory for undergraduate engineering research in topics ranging from ranging energy & efficiency, to environment &
health, to entertainment & communications. With over 30 undergraduates currently involved in the project, we anticipate the DELTA Smart House will generate a movement of engineering entrepreneurship on campus and become both a test bed for the university and a resource for the community. This talk will explore the current technologies in development and give a more detailed explanation of the future vision for this house at Duke University.

Feb 20 - Visualization of High Dimentional Data

Jeff Phillips

Dept. of Computer Science

Planning a low-fuel path for the space shuttle requires stringing together several intermediate configurations. Each configuration must describe the position, velocity, orientation, and rate of change of orientation to effectively describe the path. This requires the search of a high-dimensional (12) configurations space. Understanding this configuration space (how our algorithm is exploring it and how our sampled configurations are connected), requires visualizing this 12 dimensional configuration space. Effective visualization is essential while developing the algorithm and while presenting the results. I will talk about tools and tricks we used to attempt to grasp this high-dimensional space for the space shuttle application and a few other applications. I will also pose challenges for
visualizing developing high-dimensional problems.

Feb 27 - Seeing by Doing or, What I Learned by Writing KiNG

Ian Davis

Dept. of Biochemistry

KiNG is a Java-based, open-source viewer for the simple but powerful "kinemage" (kinetic image) graphics format. This talk will explore the advantages of using an easily modified, home-grown system for scientific visualization, while discussing lessons learned and the rationale behind some of KiNG's features. Examples will be drawn primarily from our recent collaborations and original research in structural biology, although applications from other fields will also be shown.

Mar 5 - Visualizing 'Guanxi' in the Genome

Simon Lin, M.D.

Dept. of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

"Guanxi", which refers to relationships and connections to get things accomplished, is one of the major dynamics in Eastern Asia society. This network phenomenon is extensively studied in business marketing and social sciences. In this talk, I will discuss the importance of studying 'guanxi' in the context of genomics. Especially, I will share the challenges of visualizing the complex knowledge structure in the genome.

Mar 19 - Data to Knowlege: A Tool for Data Mining

Loretta Auvil, NCSA, University of Illinois

This talk will describe the D2K framework and some applications that we have developed that use this environment. D2K (Data to Knowledge) is a flexible framework that integrates effective analytical data mining methods for data preparation, prediction, discovery, and deviation detection with data and information visualization tools. The D2K Toolkit offers a visual programming environment that allows users to connect programming modules together to build data mining applications and supplies a core set of modules, application templates, and a standard API for software component development. D2K uses a data-flow metaphor to specify the order of execution, and module parameters can be adjusted to control behavior as appropriate for the problem domain. D2K was developed by NCSA's Automated Learning Group (ALG).

Information is available at

Mar 26 - The Basics of Conducting a Usability Evaluation

Melanie Wright, Ph. D.


Often good ideas and technical implementations fail because of inadequate consideration of the capabilities, limitations, and needs of the humans who will be using the system. One way of ensuring that the end users will be considered in the design is to follow a design process known as user-centered or human-centered design. A key component of human-centered design is the use of user studies or usability evaluations at various points in the design process to identify potential usability problems or to choose between competing design alternatives in the human-machine interface. Although conducting a usability evaluation is not especially difficult, there are a few key guidelines that should be followed to help you get meaningful unbiased results from your efforts. This talk covers the basics of conducting a usability evaluation including how to: design the experiment; select the number and type of test participants; write test scenarios; set up the experiment; conduct the test; select and collect appropriate test metrics; and analyze and interpret results.

April 2 - Java for Realtime Interactive Simulations
GAME: Seek and Destroy Bad Visualizations
(warning: window will pop up and fun will ensue)

Jam Jenkins

Dept. of Computer Science

Video games can be viewed as simulations for the purpose of entertainment. These simulations rely heavily upon linear algebra, calculus, geometry and elementary physics, and because these simulations (i.e. video games) are entertaining and fun, they provide an excellent teaching opportunity. With the proper approach, students' interest can be captured by video games while their learning is focused on computer programming, simulations, mathematics, and physics concepts. In addition the visual and auditory elements enable students to interact with abstract concepts in a more concrete way. This talk will detail the development and experience of using this approach to teach introductory computer programming for non-majors at Duke University.

Course Link for more information

April 9 - Visualizing the Forces that Drive Mophogenesis

Dan Kiehart

Department of Biology and Cell Biology

A collaboration between groups in Duke Biology (Kiehart Lab), Physics (Edwards Lab), Mathematics (Venakides Group) and Computer Science (Brady Group) are investigating the forces that connect the genetic
program of development to morphogenesis in Drosophila. We focus on dorsal closure, a model system for cell sheet morphogenesis in development and wound healing. During this process, the embryo is a canoe shaped structure that morphs into a submarine. We use transgenic strategies to incorporate fluorescently marked proteins into key cellular structures, then follow the behavior of these structures in real time or by time-lapsed methods. This gives us the ability to follow developmental movement in living embryos. By applying laser microsurgical methods to interrogate cell and tissue structure, we show that the bulk of progress toward closure is driven by contractility in supra-cellular ?purse-strings? and in the amnioserosa, whereas adhesion-mediated zipping coordinates the forces produced by the purse-strings and is essential for the end stages of seam formation. We apply quantitative modeling to show that these contractile forces, generated in distinct cells, are coordinated in space and synchronized in time. Modeling of wild type and mutant phenotypes is predictive; by quantitatively analyzing closure in myospheroid mutants we show that PS-integrin has an early, important role in zipping. Later the embryo fails when the cell sheets rip themselves apart. Current focus is on expanding our analysis to understand this process in by better visualizing the morphogenetic movements in 3D and to define the biological processes that give the system resilience: remarkably, in the absence of one of the forces, the embryo can up-regulate other forces to take its place so that morphogenesis proceeds unperturbed.

April 16 -Seeing the trees for the forest: Estimating 3D canopy tree structure from video imagery and field data

Michael Wolosin

Dept. of Biology and Program in Ecology

This talk presents my attempts at addressing a problem similar to many that have been discussed in the Visualization Forums how to understand, model, and view a complex multi-dimensional structure based on imagery and/or other data. My work involves the structure of forest canopies and individual tree crowns, which can be defined as the organization in space and time of the leaves, twigs, and branches of trees. In particular, I'm interested in using models of the crown structure of individual trees in the context of their canopy neighborhoods to: 1) estimate each tree's light availability, and 2) understand how light availability and crown structure (ipso facto) impact key demographic processes. This talk will focus on the first step of this research, estimating individual 3D crown structure from both images taken above the canopy and crown measurements taken from the ground. High-resolution airborne digital videography was collected over our research plots in the fall of 2002, and I have used digital photogrammetry software to estimate the canopy surface topography from these images. I visually estimated individual tree crown boundaries using 3D viewing. I have also measured the crown extents and tree heights of many trees from the ground, and made initial attempts at combining these data. I'm hoping that by presenting to this audience early on in this research project, I'll spark useful discussions about image processing methods, possible programming and rendering environments, and perhaps some collaboration!

April 23 - Introduction to the CSEM Parallel Computing Cluster

John Pormann

Dept. of Biomedical Engineering

The Center for Computational Science, Engineering, and Medicine is now operating a large computer cluster for use by researchers with high-performance computing needs. This talk will go into some of the basics on how the system operates, the historical trends that led to our particular hardware configuration, and also the "sharing" model that is used to let researchers gain access to more computational power than they could otherwise afford. We will also go into some of the basics of parallel computing, covering several different ways to extract parallelism from sequential problems. We will show some examples of these methods, giving some ideas on how each of them may be applied to research in a variety of disciplines.

April 30 - We Have Not Yet Learned to Visualize the Web!

Richard Lucic

Department of Computer Science

This is not to say that some profound work hasn't been accomplished in web design, usability, technological progress, and innovation. But to arrive at this point in the Web's history, developers have had to borrow guidelines from other media, hack around and work their way through browser inconsistencies, and bend markup so far out of its normal shape that it has become nearly broken.

The good news, however, is that web authors are transitioning to a new system of web standards that will provide on-line content that is cleaner, much easier to manage, and load and render much more quickly as a result. Although not a perfect solution, this new system also allows people with disabilities much improved access to web resources.

This talk will discuss what's broken in the current system and then proceed to describe the emerging set of standards and the benefits they provide to visualizing information on-line.

Last Modified: May 3, 2004

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