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Image Analysis and Scientific Visualization Software
by Rich Handley
After performing a computer simulation or analysis, a researcher must interpret the results. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of numbers produced by some computer simulations can render it impractical to rely solely on the numerical results. One alternative is to convert them into pictures and animations.
For instance, a researcher modeling thermal convection in the Earth's mantel might use computer graphics on a workstation to visualize the resulting temperatures. This consists of millions, perhaps even billions of values, but by using specially-designed software, the researcher could represent the data as a grid of pixels on the screen with pixel colors representing various temperature ranges. These grids could then be displayed in succession to show the model's evolution over time. In the case of a 3D model, more advanced techniques such as volumetric rendering could also be utilized.
An extensive range of graphics software is available for this and other applications involving image analysis and scientific visualization. The following examples are but a small sample of what is out there; researchers hoping to visualize their data sets will find a wide array of alternatives awaiting them. By carefully considering their individual needs, scientists and researchers can narrow down which packages best suit their own scientific criteria...
UK-based BFi OPTiLAS, Ltd. is now distributing version V2.56 of QImaging's QCapture Suite Image Capture Software. This upgrade incorporates features from the previous version with a TWAIN-compliant interface and plug-ins for NIH ImageJ, a Java Image processing program developed by the National Institute of Health. The latter allows the range of QImaging digital cameras to be used with applications with TWAIN support and NIH ImageJ plug-ins in Windows-based operating systems. V2.56 maintains previous camera settings when the program is re-started and will be included with all QImaging cameras at no added charge.