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SCI Publications


T. Hollt, A. Magdy, P. Zhan, G. Chen, G. Gopalakrishnan, I. Hoteit, C.D. Hansen, M. Hadwiger. “Ovis: A Framework for Visual Analysis of Ocean Forecast Ensembles,” In IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG), Vol. PP, No. 99, pp. 1. 2014.
DOI: 10.1109/TVCG.2014.2307892


We present a novel integrated visualization system that enables interactive visual analysis of ensemble simulations of the sea surface height that is used in ocean forecasting. The position of eddies can be derived directly from the sea surface height and our visualization approach enables their interactive exploration and analysis. The behavior of eddies is important in different application settings of which we present two in this paper. First, we show an application for interactive planning of placement as well as operation of off-shore structures using real-world ensemble simulation data of the Gulf of Mexico. Off-shore structures, such as those used for oil exploration, are vulnerable to hazards caused by eddies, and the oil and gas industry relies on ocean forecasts for efficient operations. We enable analysis of the spatial domain, as well as the temporal evolution, for planning the placement and operation of structures. Eddies are also important for marine life. They transport water over large distances and with it also heat and other physical properties as well as biological organisms. In the second application we present the usefulness of our tool, which could be used for planning the paths of autonomous underwater vehicles, so called gliders, for marine scientists to study simulation data of the largely unexplored Red Sea.

Keywords: Ensemble Visualization, Ocean Visualization, Ocean Forecast, Risk Estimation

J.B. Hoying, U. Utzinger, J.A. Weiss. “Formation of microvascular networks: role of stromal interactions directing angiogenic growth,” In Microcirculation, Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 278--289. May, 2014.
DOI: 10.1111/micc.12115
PubMed ID: 24447042
PubMed Central ID: PMC4032604


In the adult, angiogenesis leads to an expanded microvascular network as new vessel segments are added to an existing microcirculation. Necessarily, growing neovessels must navigate through tissue stroma as they locate and grow toward other vessel elements. We have a growing body of evidence demonstrating that angiogenic neovessels reciprocally interact with the interstitial matrix of the stroma resulting in directed neovascular growth during angiogenesis. Given the compliance and the viscoelastic properties of collagen, neovessel guidance by the stroma is likely due to compressive strain transverse to the direction of primary tensile forces present during active tissue deformation. Similar stromal strains control the final network topology of the new microcirculation, including the distribution of arterioles, capillaries, and venules. In this case, stromal-derived stimuli must be present during the post-angiogenesis remodeling and maturation phases of neovascularization to have this effect. Interestingly, the preexisting organization of vessels prior to the start of angiogenesis has no lasting influence on the final, new network architecture. Combined, the evidence describes interplay between angiogenic neovessels and stroma that is important in directed neovessel growth and invasion. This dynamic is also likely a mechanism by which global tissue forces influence vascular form and function.

Keywords: angiogenesis, matrix, neovessel, remodeling, stroma

A. Humphrey, Q. Meng, M. Berzins, D. Caminha Oliveira, Z. Rakamaric, G. Gopalakrishnan. “Systematic Debugging Methods for Large-Scale HPC Computational Frameworks,” In Computing in Science Engineering, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 48--56. May, 2014.
ISSN: 1521-9615
DOI: 10.1109/MCSE.2014.11


Parallel computational frameworks for high performance computing (HPC) are central to the advancement of simulation based studies in science and engineering. Unfortunately, finding and fixing bugs in these frameworks can be extremely time consuming. Left unchecked, these bugs can drastically diminish the amount of new science that can be performed. This paper presents our systematic study of the Uintah Computational Framework, and our approaches to debug it more incisively. Our key insight is to leverage the modular structure of Uintah which lends itself to systematic debugging. In particular, we have developed a new approach based on Coalesced Stack Trace Graphs (CSTGs) that summarize the system behavior in terms of key control flows manifested through function invocation chains. We illustrate several scenarios how CSTGs could help efficiently localize bugs, and present a case study of how we found and fixed a real Uintah bug using CSTGs.

Keywords: Computational Modeling and Frameworks, Parallel Programming, Reliability, Debugging Aids

Y. Joon Ahn, C. Hoffmann, P. Rosen. “Geometric constraints on quadratic Bézier curves using minimal length and energy,” In Journal of Computational and Applied Mathematics, Vol. 255, pp. 887--897. 2014.


This paper derives expressions for the arc length and the bending energy of quadratic Bézier curves. The formulas are in terms of the control point coordinates. For fixed start and end points of the Bézier curve, the locus of the middle control point is analyzed for curves of fixed arc length or bending energy. In the case of arc length this locus is convex. For bending energy it is not. Given a line or a circle and fixed end points, the locus of the middle control point is determined for those curves that are tangent to a given line or circle. For line tangency, this locus is a parallel line. In the case of the circle, the locus can be classified into one of six major types. In some of these cases, the locus contains circular arcs. These results are then used to implement fast algorithms that construct quadratic Bézier curves tangent to a given line or circle, with given end points, that minimize bending energy or arc length.

A. Knoll, I. Wald, P. Navratil, A. Bowen, K. Reda, M. E. Papka, K. Gaither. “RBF Volume Ray Casting on Multicore and Manycore CPUs,” In Computer Graphics Forum, Vol. 33, No. 3, Edited by H. Carr and P. Rheingans and H. Schumann, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 71--80. June, 2014.
DOI: 10.1111/cgf.12363


Modern supercomputers enable increasingly large N-body simulations using unstructured point data. The structures implied by these points can be reconstructed implicitly. Direct volume rendering of radial basis function (RBF) kernels in domain-space offers flexible classification and robust feature reconstruction, but achieving performant RBF volume rendering remains a challenge for existing methods on both CPUs and accelerators. In this paper, we present a fast CPU method for direct volume rendering of particle data with RBF kernels. We propose a novel two-pass algorithm: first sampling the RBF field using coherent bounding hierarchy traversal, then subsequently integrating samples along ray segments. Our approach performs interactively for a range of data sets from molecular dynamics and astrophysics up to 82 million particles. It does not rely on level of detail or subsampling, and offers better reconstruction quality than structured volume rendering of the same data, exhibiting comparable performance and requiring no additional preprocessing or memory footprint other than the BVH. Lastly, our technique enables multi-field, multi-material classification of particle data, providing better insight and analysis.

S. Kumar, C. Christensen, P.-T. Bremer, E. Brugger, V. Pascucci, J. Schmidt, M. Berzins, H. Kolla, J. Chen, V. Vishwanath, P. Carns, R. Grout. “Fast Multi-Resolution Reads of Massive Simulation Datasets,” In Proceedings of the International Supercomputing Conference ISC'14, Leipzig, Germany, June, 2014.


Today's massively parallel simulation code can produce output ranging up to many terabytes of data. Utilizing this data to support scientific inquiry requires analysis and visualization, yet the sheer size of the data makes it cumbersome or impossible to read without computational resources similar to the original simulation. We identify two broad classes of problems for reading data and present effective solutions for both. The first class of data reads depends on user requirements and available resources. Tasks such as visualization and user-guided analysis may be accomplished using only a subset of variables with restricted spatial extents at a reduced resolution. The other class of reads require full resolution multi-variate data to be loaded, for example to restart a simulation. We show that utilizing the hierarchical multi-resolution IDX data format enables scalable and efficient serial and parallel read access on a variety of hardware from supercomputers down to portable devices. We demonstrate interactive view-dependent visualization and analysis of massive scientific datasets using low-power commodity hardware, and we compare read performance with other parallel file formats for both full and partial resolution data.

S. Kumar, J. Edwards, P.-T. Bremer, A. Knoll, C. Christensen, V. Vishwanath, P. Carns, J.A. Schmidt, V. Pascucci. “Efficient I/O and storage of adaptive-resolution data,” In Proceedings of the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis, IEEE Press, pp. 413--423. 2014.
DOI: 10.1109/SC.2014.39


We present an efficient, flexible, adaptive-resolution I/O framework that is suitable for both uniform and Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR) simulations. In an AMR setting, current solutions typically represent each resolution level as an independent grid which often results in inefficient storage and performance. Our technique coalesces domain data into a unified, multiresolution representation with fast, spatially aggregated I/O. Furthermore, our framework easily extends to importance-driven storage of uniform grids, for example, by storing regions of interest at full resolution and nonessential regions at lower resolution for visualization or analysis. Our framework, which is an extension of the PIDX framework, achieves state of the art disk usage and I/O performance regardless of resolution of the data, regions of interest, and the number of processes that generated the data. We demonstrate the scalability and efficiency of our framework using the Uintah and S3D large-scale combustion codes on the Mira and Edison supercomputers.

A.G. Landge, V. Pascucci, A. Gyulassy, J.C. Bennett, H. Kolla, J. Chen, P.-T. Bremer. “In-situ feature extraction of large scale combustion simulations using segmented merge trees,” In Proceedings of the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC 2014), New Orleans, Louisana, IEEE Press, Piscataway, NJ, USA pp. 1020--1031. 2014.
ISBN: 978-1-4799-5500-8
DOI: 10.1109/SC.2014.88


The ever increasing amount of data generated by scientific simulations coupled with system I/O constraints are fueling a need for in-situ analysis techniques. Of particular interest are approaches that produce reduced data representations while maintaining the ability to redefine, extract, and study features in a post-process to obtain scientific insights.

This paper presents two variants of in-situ feature extraction techniques using segmented merge trees, which encode a wide range of threshold based features. The first approach is a fast, low communication cost technique that generates an exact solution but has limited scalability. The second is a scalable, local approximation that nevertheless is guaranteed to correctly extract all features up to a predefined size. We demonstrate both variants using some of the largest combustion simulations available on leadership class supercomputers. Our approach allows state-of-the-art, feature-based analysis to be performed in-situ at significantly higher frequency than currently possible and with negligible impact on the overall simulation runtime.

J.D. Lewis, A.C. Evans, J.R. Pruett, K. Botteron, L. Zwaigenbaum, A. Estes, G. Gerig, L. Collins, P. Kostopoulos, R. McKinstry, S. Dager, S. Paterson, R. Schultz, M. Styner, H. Hazlett, J. Piven, IBIS network. “Network inefficiencies in autism spectrum disorder at 24 months,” In Translational Psychiatry, Vol. 4, No. 5, Nature Publishing Group, pp. e388. May, 2014.
DOI: 10.1038/tp.2014.24


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder defined by behavioural symptoms that emerge during the first years of life. Associated with these symptoms are differences in the structure of a wide array of brain regions, and in the connectivity between these regions. However, the use of cohorts with large age variability and participants past the generally recognized age of onset of the defining behaviours means that many of the reported abnormalities may be a result of cascade effects of developmentally earlier deviations. This study assessed differences in connectivity in ASD at the age at which the defining behaviours first become clear. The participants were 113 24-month-olds at high risk for ASD, 31 of whom were classified as ASD, and 23 typically developing 24-month-olds at low risk for ASD. Utilizing diffusion data to obtain measures of the length and strength of connections between anatomical regions, we performed an analysis of network efficiency. Our results showed significantly decreased local and global efficiency over temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes in high-risk infants classified as ASD, relative to both low- and high-risk infants not classified as ASD. The frontal lobes showed only a reduction in global efficiency in Broca's area. Additionally, these same regions showed an inverse relation between efficiency and symptom severity across the high-risk infants. The results suggest delay or deficits in infants with ASD in the optimization of both local and global aspects of network structure in regions involved in processing auditory and visual stimuli, language, and nonlinguistic social stimuli.

Keywords: autism, infant siblings, connectivity, network analysis, efficiency

A. Lex, N. Gehlenborg, H. Strobelt, R. Vuillemot,, H. Pfister. “UpSet: Visualization of Intersecting Sets,” In IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (InfoVis '14), Vol. 20, No. 12, pp. 1983--1992. 2014.
ISSN: 1077-2626


Understanding relationships between sets is an important analysis task that has received widespread attention in the visualization community. The major challenge in this context is the combinatorial explosion of the number of set intersections if the number of sets exceeds a trivial threshold. In this paper we introduce UpSet, a novel visualization technique for the quantitative analysis of sets, their intersections, and aggregates of intersections. UpSet is focused on creating task-driven aggregates, communicating the size and properties of aggregates and intersections, and a duality between the visualization of the elements in a dataset and their set membership. UpSet visualizes set intersections in a matrix layout and introduces aggregates based on groupings and queries. The matrix layout enables the effective representation of associated data, such as the number of elements in the aggregates and intersections, as well as additional summary statistics derived from subset or element attributes. Sorting according to various measures enables a task-driven analysis of relevant intersections and aggregates. The elements represented in the sets and their associated attributes are visualized in a separate view. Queries based on containment in specific intersections, aggregates or driven by attribute filters are propagated between both views. We also introduce several advanced visual encodings and interaction methods to overcome the problems of varying scales and to address scalability. UpSet is web-based and open source. We demonstrate its general utility in multiple use cases from various domains.

W. Liu, S.P. Awate, J.S. Anderson, P.T. Fletcher. “A functional network estimation method of resting-state fMRI using a hierarchical Markov random field,” In NeuroImage, Vol. 100, pp. 520--534. 2014.
ISSN: 1053-8119
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.06.001


We propose a hierarchical Markov random field model for estimating both group and subject functional networks simultaneously. The model takes into account the within-subject spatial coherence as well as the between-subject consistency of the network label maps. The statistical dependency between group and subject networks acts as a regularization, which helps the network estimation on both layers. We use Gibbs sampling to approximate the posterior density of the network labels and Monte Carlo expectation maximization to estimate the model parameters. We compare our method with two alternative segmentation methods based on K-Means and normalized cuts, using synthetic and real data. The experimental results show that our proposed model is able to identify both group and subject functional networks with higher accuracy on synthetic data, more robustness, and inter-session consistency on the real data.

Keywords: Resting-state functional MRI, Segmentation, Functional connectivity, Hierarchical Markov random field, Bayesian

Shusen Liu, Bei Wang, J.J. Thiagarajan, P.-T. Bremer, V. Pascucci. “Visual Exploration of High-Dimensional Data: Subspace Analysis through Dynamic Projections,” SCI Technical Report, No. UUSCI-2014-003, SCI Institute, University of Utah, 2014.


Understanding high-dimensional data is rapidly becoming a central challenge in many areas of science and engineering. Most current techniques either rely on manifold learning based techniques which typically create a single embedding of the data or on subspace selection to find subsets of the original attributes that highlight the structure. However, the former creates a single, difficult-to-interpret view and assumes the data to be drawn from a single manifold, while the latter is limited to axis-aligned projections with restrictive viewing angles. Instead, we introduce ideas based on subspace clustering that can faithfully represent more complex data than the axis-aligned projections, yet do not assume the data to lie on a single manifold. In particular, subspace clustering assumes that the data can be represented by a union of low-dimensional subspaces, which can subsequently be used for analysis and visualization. In this paper, we introduce new techniques to reliably estimate both the intrinsic dimension and the linear basis of a mixture of subspaces extracted through subspace clustering. We show that the resulting bases represent the high-dimensional structures more reliably than traditional approaches. Subsequently, we use the bases to define different “viewpoints”, i.e., different projections onto pairs of basis vectors, from which to visualize the data. While more intuitive than non-linear projections, interpreting linear subspaces in terms of the original dimensions can still be challenging. To address this problem, we present new, animated transitions between different views to help the user navigate and explore the high-dimensional space. More specifically, we introduce the view transition graph which contains nodes for each subspace viewpoint and edges for potential transition between views. The transition graph enables users to explore both the structure within a subspace and the relations between different subspaces, for better understanding of the data. Using a number of case studies on well-know reference datasets, we demonstrate that the interactive exploration through such dynamic projections provides additional insights not readily available from existing tools.

Keywords: High-dimensional data, Subspace, Dynamic projection

S. Liu, Bei Wang, P.-T. Bremer, V. Pascucci. “Distortion-Guided Structure-Driven Interactive Exploration of High-Dimensional Data,” In Computer Graphics Forum, Vol. 33, No. 3, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 101--110. June, 2014.


Dimension reduction techniques are essential for feature selection and feature extraction of complex high-dimensional data. These techniques, which construct low-dimensional representations of data, are typically geometrically motivated, computationally efficient and approximately preserve certain structural properties of the data. However, they are often used as black box solutions in data exploration and their results can be difficult to interpret. To assess the quality of these results, quality measures, such as co-ranking [ LV09 ], have been proposed to quantify structural distortions that occur between high-dimensional and low-dimensional data representations. Such measures could be evaluated and visualized point-wise to further highlight erroneous regions [ MLGH13 ]. In this work, we provide an interactive visualization framework for exploring high-dimensional data via its two-dimensional embeddings obtained from dimension reduction, using a rich set of user interactions. We ask the following question: what new insights do we obtain regarding the structure of the data, with interactive manipulations of its embeddings in the visual space? We augment the two-dimensional embeddings with structural abstrac- tions obtained from hierarchical clusterings, to help users navigate and manipulate subsets of the data. We use point-wise distortion measures to highlight interesting regions in the domain, and further to guide our selection of the appropriate level of clusterings that are aligned with the regions of interest. Under the static setting, point-wise distortions indicate the level of structural uncertainty within the embeddings. Under the dynamic setting, on-the-fly updates of point-wise distortions due to data movement and data deletion reflect structural relations among different parts of the data, which may lead to new and valuable insights.

Shusen Liu, Bei Wang, J.J. Thiagarajan, P.-T. Bremer, V. Pascucci. “Multivariate Volume Visualization through Dynamic Projections,” In Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Large Data Analysis and Visualization (LDAV), 2014.


We propose a multivariate volume visualization framework that tightly couples dynamic projections with a high-dimensional transfer function design for interactive volume visualization. We assume that the complex, high-dimensional data in the attribute space can be well-represented through a collection of low-dimensional linear subspaces, and embed the data points in a variety of 2D views created as projections onto these subspaces. Through dynamic projections, we present animated transitions between different views to help the user navigate and explore the attribute space for effective transfer function design. Our framework not only provides a more intuitive understanding of the attribute space but also allows the design of the transfer function under multiple dynamic views, which is more flexible than being restricted to a single static view of the data. For large volumetric datasets, we maintain interactivity during the transfer function design via intelligent sampling and scalable clustering. Using examples in combustion and climate simulations, we demonstrate how our framework can be used to visualize interesting structures in the volumetric space.

T. Liu, C. Jones, M. Seyedhosseini, T. Tasdizen. “A modular hierarchical approach to 3D electron microscopy image segmentation,” In Journal of Neuroscience Methods, Vol. 226, No. 15, pp. 88--102. April, 2014.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2014.01.022


The study of neural circuit reconstruction, i.e., connectomics, is a challenging problem in neuroscience. Automated and semi-automated electron microscopy (EM) image analysis can be tremendously helpful for connectomics research. In this paper, we propose a fully automatic approach for intra-section segmentation and inter-section reconstruction of neurons using EM images. A hierarchical merge tree structure is built to represent multiple region hypotheses and supervised classification techniques are used to evaluate their potentials, based on which we resolve the merge tree with consistency constraints to acquire final intra-section segmentation. Then, we use a supervised learning based linking procedure for the inter-section neuron reconstruction. Also, we develop a semi-automatic method that utilizes the intermediate outputs of our automatic algorithm and achieves intra-segmentation with minimal user intervention. The experimental results show that our automatic method can achieve close-to-human intra-segmentation accuracy and state-of-the-art inter-section reconstruction accuracy. We also show that our semi-automatic method can further improve the intra-segmentation accuracy.

Keywords: Image segmentation, Electron microscopy, Hierarchical segmentation, Semi-automatic segmentation, Neuron reconstruction

D. Maljovec, Bei Wang, J. Moeller, V. Pascucci. “Topology-Based Active Learning,” SCI Technical Report, No. UUSCI-2014-001, SCI Institute, University of Utah, 2014.


A common problem in simulation and experimental research involves obtaining time-consuming, expensive, or potentially hazardous samples from an arbitrary dimension parameter space. For example, many simulations modeled on supercomputers can take days or weeks to complete, so it is imperative to select samples in the most informative and interesting areas of the parameter space. In such environments, maximizing the potential gain of information is achieved through active learning (adaptive sampling). Though the topic of active learning is well-studied, this paper provides a new perspective on the problem. We consider topologybased batch selection strategies for active learning which are ideal for environments where parallel or concurrent experiments are able to be run, yet each has a heavy cost. These strategies utilize concepts derived from computational topology to choose a collection of locally distinct, optimal samples before updating the surrogate model. We demonstrate through experiments using a several different batch sizes that topology-based strategies have comparable and sometimes superior performance, compared to conventional approaches.

D. Maljovec, S. Liu, Bei Wang, V. Pascucci, P.-T. Bremer, D. Mandelli, C. Smith. “Analyzing Simulation-Based PRA Data Through Clustering: a BWR Station Blackout Case Study,” In Proceedings of the Probabilistic Safety Assessment & Management conference (PSAM), 2014.


Dynamic probabilistic risk assessment (DPRA) methodologies couple system simulator codes (e.g., RELAP, MELCOR) with simulation controller codes (e.g., RAVEN, ADAPT). Whereas system simulator codes accurately model system dynamics deterministically, simulation controller codes introduce both deterministic (e.g., system control logic, operating procedures) and stochastic (e.g., component failures, parameter uncertainties) elements into the simulation. Typically, a DPRA is performed by 1) sampling values of a set of parameters from the uncertainty space of interest (using the simulation controller codes), and 2) simulating the system behavior for that specific set of parameter values (using the system simulator codes). For complex systems, one of the major challenges in using DPRA methodologies is to analyze the large amount of information (i.e., large number of scenarios ) generated, where clustering techniques are typically employed to allow users to better organize and interpret the data. In this paper, we focus on the analysis of a nuclear simulation dataset that is part of the risk-informed safety margin characterization (RISMC) boiling water reactor (BWR) station blackout (SBO) case study. We apply a software tool that provides the domain experts with an interactive analysis and visualization environment for understanding the structures of such high-dimensional nuclear simulation datasets. Our tool encodes traditional and topology-based clustering techniques, where the latter partitions the data points into clusters based on their uniform gradient flow behavior. We demonstrate through our case study that both types of clustering techniques complement each other in bringing enhanced structural understanding of the data.

Keywords: PRA, computational topology, clustering, high-dimensional analysis

D. Mandelli, C. Smith, T. Riley, J. Nielsen, J. Schroeder, C. Rabiti, A. Alfonsi, J. Cogliati, R. Kinoshita, V. Pascucci, Bei Wang, D. Maljovec. “Overview of New Tools to Perform Safety Analysis: BWR Station Black Out Test Case,” In Proceedings of the Probabilistic Safety Assessment & Management conference (PSAM), 2014.


The existing fleet of nuclear power plants is in the process of extending its lifetime and increasing the power generated from these plants via power uprates. In order to evaluate the impacts of these two factors on the safety of the plant, the Risk Informed Safety Margin Characterization project aims to provide insights to decision makers through a series of simulations of the plant dynamics for different initial conditions (e.g., probabilistic analysis and uncertainty quantification). This paper focuses on the impacts of power uprate on the safety margin of a boiling water reactor for a station black-out event. Analysis is performed by using a combination of thermal-hydraulic codes and a stochastic analysis tool currently under development at the Idaho National Laboratory, i.e. RAVEN. We employed both classical statistical tools, i.e. Monte-Carlo, and more advanced machine learning based algorithms to perform uncertainty quantification in order to quantify changes in system performance and limitations as a consequence of power uprate. We also employed advanced data analysis and visualization tools that helped us to correlate simulation outcomes such as maximum core temperature with a set of input uncertain parameters. Results obtained give a detailed investigation of the issues associated with a plant power uprate including the effects of station black-out accident scenarios. We were able to quantify how the timing of specific events was impacted by a higher nominal reactor core power. Such safety insights can provide useful information to the decision makers to perform risk-informed margins management.

C. McGann, N. Akoum, A. Patel, E. Kholmovski, P. Revelo, K. Damal, B. Wilson, J. Cates, A. Harrison, R. Ranjan, N.S. Burgon, T. Greene, D. Kim, E.V. Dibella, D. Parker, R.S. MacLeod, N.F. Marrouche. “Atrial fibrillation ablation outcome is predicted by left atrial remodeling on MRI,” In Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 23--30. 2014.
DOI: 10.1161/CIRCEP.113.000689
PubMed ID: 24363354


Although catheter ablation therapy for atrial fibrillation (AF) is becoming more common, results vary widely, and patient selection criteria remain poorly defined. We hypothesized that late gadolinium enhancement MRI (LGE-MRI) can identify left atrial (LA) wall structural remodeling (SRM) and stratify patients who are likely or not to benefit from ablation therapy.

LGE-MRI was performed on 426 consecutive patients with AF without contraindications to MRI before undergoing their first ablation procedure and on 21 non-AF control subjects. Patients were categorized by SRM stage (I-IV) based on the percentage of LA wall enhancement for correlation with procedure outcomes. Histological validation of SRM was performed comparing LGE-MRI with surgical biopsy. A total of 386 patients (91%) with adequate LGE-MRI scans were included in the study. After ablation, 123 patients (31.9%) experienced recurrent atrial arrhythmias during the 1-year follow-up. Recurrent arrhythmias (failed ablations) occurred at higher SRM stages with 28 of 133 (21.0%) in stage I, 40 of 140 (29.3%) in stage II, 24 of 71 (33.8%) in stage III, and 30 of 42 (71.4%) in stage IV. In multivariate analysis, ablation outcome was best predicted by advanced SRM stage (hazard ratio, 4.89; P

G. McInerny, M. Chen, R. Freeman, D. Gavaghan, M.D. Meyer, F. Rowland, D. Spiegelhalter, M. Steganer, G. Tessarolo, J. Hortal. “Information Visualization for Science and Policy: Engaging Users and Avoiding Bias,” In Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp. 148--157. 2014.
DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2014.01.003


Visualisations and graphics are fundamental to studying complex subject matter. However, beyond acknowledging this value, scientists and science-policy programmes rarely consider how visualisations can enable discovery, create engaging and robust reporting, or support online resources. Producing accessible and unbiased visualisations from complicated, uncertain data requires expertise and knowledge from science, policy, computing, and design. However, visualisation is rarely found in our scientific training, organisations, or collaborations. As new policy programmes develop [e.g., the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)], we need information visualisation to permeate increasingly both the work of scientists and science policy. The alternative is increased potential for missed discoveries, miscommunications, and, at worst, creating a bias towards the research that is easiest to display.