Fossils, Galactic Voids and other Research Topics Brought to Life at Ohio Supercomputer Center.

Academic Research Case Study

Whether visualizing fossil bones to understand the relationship between bone structure and the functional characteristics of a skeleton, investigating void-finding algorithms to define voids in 3D galaxy surveys, or completing a research project for the US Department of Defense, data visualization software from Advanced Visual Systems is an integral part of research and analysis at the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC).

Nationally recognized as one of the country’s top cluster computing sites, the Columbus-based Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) is using several editors of AVS/Express along with CRAY SV1, CRAY T94, SGI Origin 2000 and SGI Onyx2 computers to support a diverse range of research by scientists and engineers throughout Ohio and for a variety of customers including the US Government and partners such as the Maui High-Performance Computing Center.

Recent research projects that utilized AVS/Express software include 3D renderings of fossil specimens from the Miocene Hominoid Proconsul to understand the developmental processes and functional changes that occurred in early hominoid evolution; 3D visualization of recently rediscovered geological samples taken from the area where downtown Cleveland now is erected to gain insight into the geographic area’s past; a 2D simulation of falling paper to better understand the complex interaction between air and a solid object moving through the air; and land mine detection.

“We selected the AVS/Express platforms because of their robust nature and ability to be deployed on a wide range of hardware,” says Dr. Ken Flurchick, director of scientific programs at OSC. “In addition, the applications enable our researchers to try out a number of different techniques very quickly and easily and without having to develop visualization code.” Flurchick has used the software to develop an application for chemists called STM that reads 14 different file formats for chemistry simultaneously and displays the complex information of both geometric and electronic structure.

“I use the Multipipe Edition extensively,” says Flurchick, “in part because it easily facilitates collaboration among researchers, and the immersive environment enhances one’s ability to quickly see nuances in the data.” In addition to supporting and facilitating research, Flurchick and OSC provide researchers with a number of different training sessions on how to use the AVS/Express software.

AVS/Express has been used to visualize many different types of data in a wide range of configurations – extending from portable test systems to theatre-sized visualization facilities – as well as on Windows PCs and UNIX workstations from Hewlett-Packard, Digital, IBM, SGI and Sun. Over 1,000 worldwide customers and 8,000 licensed users rely on AVS/Express to bring clarity to complex scientific, engineering and business data through highly visual representations that facilitate rapid understanding and comprehension.



AVS/Express is used at OSC to display various properties of sample cores (water content, particulate size, composition, etc.) in 3D to better visualize the distribution of these properties underneath Cleveland’s downtown area.

AVS/Express is used at OSC to visualize findings regarding voids in three-dimensional galaxy surveys.

Additional analysis of voids in three-dimensional galaxy surveys.

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