Dr. Lewis Chuang has been jointly awarded, with Konstanz and Stuttgart Universities, funding to establish up a special research focus titled —'Quantitative Methods for Visual Computing'. The goal of this project is to derive perception-based approaches for evaluating the quality of visualizations, such as those used in medical imaging, virtual reality, communication media, etc.
Information is predominantly communicated via the visual medium. From maps to meteorological reports to word-clouds of popular Twitter hashtags, the diversity of visual properties (i.e., size, color, lines, etc), which our visual system is responsive to, provides designers with a large palette to choose from. Our confidence in our ability to perceive visual information has coined popular phrases such as,"I'll believe it when I see it." or for the internet-savvy, "pics or it didn't happen". Thus, our inability to determine whether a dress is blue or gold
can result in unexpected levels of controversy. The numerous visual illusions
that never cease to bemuse attests to our limited visual capabilities.
Visual computing refers to a flourishing field in computer science that strives to develop principles and algorithms for generating visual information. The applications that benefit include medical imaging for diagnostic purposes as well as computer graphics for entertainment. Regardless of the application, the ubiquitous challenge lies in transforming abstract data to perceivable information. How should data be represented? How can costs be reduced for real-time computations? What are intuitive interfaces that will support interactive information seeking behavior? These are challenging issues that demand constant innovation and novel algorithms.
This DFG-funded initiative constitutes a collaboration of internationally renowned experts in computer science from the Universities of Konstanz and Stuttgart. The motivation is to develop methods for visual computing that are relevant to the human perception. It is in this regard, that the Max Planck Institution for Biological Cybernetics (MPI-BC) will play a a crucial role. Specifically, the MPI-BC will be working closely with partners within this framework, to apply methods drawn from psychophysics and neuroscience to the development and evaluation of visual computing methods.