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CSpray:

A Collaborative Scientific Visualization Application

Alex Pang, Craig M. Wittenbrink and Tom Goodman

Baskin Center for Computer Engineering & Information Sciences

University of California, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, CA 95064

ABSTRACT

We present the design and implementation of Collaborative Spray or CSpray (pronounced sea spray"). CSpray is a CSCW (Computer Supported Cooperative Work) application geared towards supporting multiple users in a collaborative scientific visualization setting. Scientists are allowed to share data sets, graphics primitives, images, and create visualization products within a view independent shared workspace. CSpray supports incremental updates to reduce network traffic, separates large data streams from smaller command streams with a two level communication strategy, provides different service levels according to client's resources, enforces permissions for different levels of sharing, distinguishes private from public resources, and provides multiple fair and intuitive floor control schemes for shared objects. Off the shelf multimedia tools such as nv and vat can be used concurrently. CSpray is based on the spray rendering visualization interaction technique to generate contours, surfaces, particles, and other graphics primitives from scientific data sets such as those found in oceanography and meteorology.

Keywords: computer supported cooperative work, collaboration, scientific visualization, spray rendering, floor control, session management.

1 INTRODUCTION

Recent developments in teleconferencing allow geographically separated colleagues to discuss ideas using voice and video in real time. There are many systems designed to support multimedia interaction among users1{7

or study the mechanisms behind multimedia interaction. However, with a few exceptions, most visualization systems to date still operate in single-user mode. With single-user tools, visualizations are created from one graphics workstation. Users may run remote modules, for example on a supercomputer, but they do not interact with other users in the creation of the visualization products. In contrast, extending single-user visualization tools into collaborative scientific visualization settings allow multiple investigators to share data, views, manipulation sequences and to participate in the creation of the visualization products across the network.