2019 IEEE Scientific Visualization Contest Winner: Visual Analysis of Structure Formation in Cosmic Evolution

Karsten Schatz, Universität Stuttgart
Christoph Muller, Universität Stuttgart
Patrick Gralka, Universität Stuttgart
Moritz Heinemann, Universität Stuttgart
Alexander Straub, Universität Stuttgart
Christoph Schulz, Universität Stuttgart
Matthias Braun, Universität Stuttgart
Tobias Rau, Universität Stuttgart
Michael Becher, Universität Stuttgart
Steffen Frey, Universität Stuttgart
Guido Reina, Universität Stuttgart
Michael Sedlmair, Universität Stuttgart
Daniel Weiskopf, Universität Stuttgart
Thomas Ertl, Universität Stuttgart
Patrick Diehl, Louisiana State University
Dominic Marcello, Louisiana State University
Juhan Frank, Louisiana State University
Thomas Muller, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy


Simulations of cosmic evolution are a means to explain the formation of the universe as we see it today. The resulting data of such simulations comprise numerous physical quantities, which turns their analysis into a complex task. Here, we analyze such high-dimensional and time-varying particle data using various visualization techniques from the fields of particle visualization, flow visualization, volume visualization, and information visualization. Our approach employs specialized filters to extract and highlight the development of so-called active galactic nuclei and filament structures formed by the particles. Additionally, we calculate X-ray emission of the evolving structures in a pre-processing step to complement visual analysis. Our approach is integrated into a single visual analytics framework to allow for analysis of star formation at interactive frame rates. Finally, we lay out the methodological aspects of our work that led to success at the 2019 IEEE SciVis Contest.