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Visualization Hardware And Software

We have a few high-end workstations dedicated for visualization uses, on which several commonly used visualization software packages are installed. These visualization stations equipped with advanced graphics cards and large memory are suitable for visualizing large data sets at interactive rates. For a list of visualization stations Sharcnet provides, check Visualization Systems section. For a list of software packages Sharcnet hosts, check Visualization section

Getting Visualization Help In SHARCNET

Our technical staff can help you convert the results of your numerical calculations on SHARCNET into nice images and/or movies to share with colleagues, to put online or into a publication. We have a lot of experience in scientific visualization, primarily using open-source tools such as ParaView, VTK, Blender, various Python libraries for visualization of pretty much any data type, including massive multidimensional datasets. We can help you with all stages of visualization, from preparing data in the right format to interactive data analysis. For more information, please contact us at

Visualization Gallery

MAX3D: visualization of X-ray Diffraction Patterns in 3D

MAX3D is an interactive visualization tool designed to read a series of 2D diffraction images and provide a visualization of a solid volume in the reciprocal space. It was co-developed by James Britten from the Analytical X-ray Diffraction Facility at McMaster University and Weiguang Guan from SHARCNET/McMaster. MAX3D was written in C++ using VTK classes for volume rendering on GPU cards and sphere/slice views, and Qt for GUI. MAX3D is used by Chemists at Harvard; physicists at the University of Toronto; materials scientists at MIT; synchrotron beamline scientists around the world (Canada, Australia, Argonne National Labs, Oak Ridge National Labs, etc.); geneticists in Tokyo; air force researchers in Edwards, California; medical researchers at the National Cancer Institute in Bathesda, Maryland; diffraction instrument developers in Texas and Wisconsin; mineralogists in Innsbruck, Austria; electronics engineers in Southampton, England . . . and many more researchers around the world.

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Visualization of mixed (particles + 3D) data with ParaView

Recently we worked with Alena Antipova and Colin Denniston from the Department of Applied Mathematics at Western University to visualize a numerical simulation of the motion of a nickel nanodisk suspended in nematic liquid crystal under the action of a weak magnetic field. Below are the snapshots from a movie showing the nickel disk particles, liquid crystal particle orientation and a topological defect in orange. The particles were imported in one of the VTK formats, the 3D fields in NetCDF, and scripting of time evolution and cut plane animation was done with Python inside ParaView.

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Astrophysical visualization with custom scripts and yt

In these examples a diffuse part of the astrophysical radiative transfer code FTTE (fully threaded transport engine) was adapted to do ray tracing at an arbitrary angle through a volume containing hundreds or thousands of nested grids of multiple resolutions to plot volume renderings, projections and slices of gas in star-forming galaxies at high redshifts. Similar visualization can be done with yt, a Python package for analyzing volumetric multi-resolution astrophysical data.

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