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Photo: Universität Paderborn, Besim Mazhiqi

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Invitation to talk from Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Bischof about visualizing gravitational waves

The Hunt for Gravitational Waves and How to Visualize What No One Has Ever Seen

A talk by Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Bischof (Rochester Institute of Technology)
Date and time: 12.05.2016 at 13:00
Location: Q0.101


Gravitational waves are ripples in the geometry of space and time that propagate at the speed of light, predicted by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. Last fall, the Advanced LIGO detectors in Louisiana and Washington State began their first observing run, resulting in the recently reported first direct detection of gravitational waves, from a binary black hole merger. The first part of the talk will focus on the experience of a Computer Scientist surrounded by Astrophysicists during this time period.

The second part of the talk will be about Visualization of scientific data. Visualization of scientific data can help to analyze and explore the data in ways, which cannot be achieved with analytical methods. Most visualization programs are typically implemented using a data flow approach. A visualization programs consist of a set of components connected via directed graph, and the data flows through the program and this process creates images, which are later assembled into a movie. We often need to change the properties of the components dynamically during the visualization process in order to create the best possible movie. A method to use the visualization program as an interpreter for a dynamic visualization program, which allows making these changes without rewriting the visualization program will be presented. This method allows focusing on a particular visual after the visualization program has been written and does require a re-write of the visualization program.

Dr Hans-Peter Bischof is a professor for computer science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He received his PhD from the University of Osnabrück. He spent five years researching compiler and language design, and moved from there to research on operating systems designs and distributed systems for a decade. His latest research area, visualization frameworks for scientific data, incorporates all three previous research areas. His visualization framework is a distributed operating system known as Spiegel that is programmable in different specialized programming languages. His visualizations of numerical relativity simulations have been used by the History Channel, for a show entitled "The Universe: Cosmic Holes" and a number of science magazines. Dr. Bischof is also the program director of a study abroad program between RIT and the University of Osnabrück.

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