Designed especially for neurobiologists, FluoRender is an interactive tool for multi-channel fluorescence microscopy data visualization and analysis.
Large scale visualization on the Powerwall.
BrainStimulator is a set of networks that are used in SCIRun to perform simulations of brain stimulation such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and magnetic transcranial stimulation (TMS).
Developing software tools for science has always been a central vision of the SCI Institute.

SCI Publications


J.N. Todd, T.G. Maak, G.A. Ateshian, S.A. Maas, J.A. Weiss. “Hip chondrolabral mechanics during activities of daily living: Role of the labrum and interstitial fluid pressurization,” In Journal of Biomechanics, Vol. 69, Elsevier BV, pp. 113--120. March, 2018.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2018.01.001


Osteoarthritis of the hip can result from mechanical factors, which can be studied using finite element (FE) analysis. FE studies of the hip often assume there is no significant loss of fluid pressurization in the articular cartilage during simulated activities and approximate the material as incompressible and elastic. This study examined the conditions under which interstitial fluid load support remains sustained during physiological motions, as well as the role of the labrum in maintaining fluid load support and the effect of its presence on the solid phase of the surrounding cartilage. We found that dynamic motions of gait and squatting maintained consistent fluid load support between cycles, while static single-leg stance experienced slight fluid depressurization with significant reduction of solid phase stress and strain. Presence of the labrum did not significantly influence fluid load support within the articular cartilage, but prevented deformation at the cartilage edge, leading to lower stress and strain conditions in the cartilage. A morphologically accurate representation of collagen fibril orientation through the thickness of the articular cartilage was not necessary to predict fluid load support. However, comparison with simplified fibril reinforcement underscored the physiological importance. The results of this study demonstrate that an elastic incompressible material approximation is reasonable for modeling a limited number of cyclic motions of gait and squatting without significant loss of accuracy, but is not appropriate for static motions or numerous repeated motions. Additionally, effects seen from removal of the labrum motivate evaluation of labral reattachment strategies in the context of labral repair.

L. Tu, M. Styner, J. Vicory, S. Elhabian, R. Wang, J. Hong, B. Paniagua, J.C. Prieto, D. Yang, R. Whitaker, M. Pizer. “Skeletal Shape Correspondence through Entropy,” In IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, Vol. 37, No. 1, IEEE, pp. 1--11. Jan, 2018.
DOI: 10.1109/tmi.2017.2755550


We present a novel approach for improving the shape statistics of medical image objects by generating correspondence of skeletal points. Each object's interior is modeled by an s-rep, i.e., by a sampled, folded, two-sided skeletal sheet with spoke vectors proceeding from the skeletal sheet to the boundary. The skeleton is divided into three parts: the up side, the down side, and the fold curve. The spokes on each part are treated separately and, using spoke interpolation, are shifted along that skeleton in each training sample so as to tighten the probability distribution on those spokes' geometric properties while sampling the object interior regularly. As with the surface/boundary-based correspondence method of Cates et al., entropy is used to measure both the probability distribution tightness and the sampling regularity, here of the spokes' geometric properties. Evaluation on synthetic and real world lateral ventricle and hippocampus data sets demonstrate improvement in the performance of statistics using the resulting probability distributions. This improvement is greater than that achieved by an entropy-based correspondence method on the boundary points.

W Usher, P Klacansky, F Federer, PT Bremer, A Knoll, J. Yarch, A. Angelucci, V. Pascucci . “A virtual reality visualization tool for neuron tracing,” In IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Vol. 24, No. 1, IEEE, pp. 994--1003. Jan, 2018.
DOI: 10.1109/tvcg.2017.2744079


racing neurons in large-scale microscopy data is crucial to establishing a wiring diagram of the brain, which is needed to understand how neural circuits in the brain process information and generate behavior. Automatic techniques often fail for large and complex datasets, and connectomics researchers may spend weeks or months manually tracing neurons using 2D image stacks. We present a design study of a new virtual reality (VR) system, developed in collaboration with trained neuroanatomists, to trace neurons in microscope scans of the visual cortex of primates. We hypothesize that using consumer-grade VR technology to interact with neurons directly in 3D will help neuroscientists better resolve complex cases and enable them to trace neurons faster and with less physical and mental strain. We discuss both the design process and technical challenges in developing an interactive system to navigate and manipulate terabyte-sized image volumes in VR. Using a number of different datasets, we demonstrate that, compared to widely used commercial software, consumer-grade VR presents a promising alternative for scientists.

Z. Yang, D. Sahasrabudhe, A. Humphrey, M. Berzins. “A Preliminary Port and Evaluation of the Uintah AMT Runtime on Sunway TaihuLight,” In 9th IEEE International Workshop on Parallel and Distributed Scientific and Engineering Computing (PDSEC 2018), IEEE, May, 2018.


The Sunway TaihuLight is the world's fastest supercomputer at the present time with a low power consumption per flop and a unique set of architectural features. Applications performance depends heavily on being able to adapt codes to make best use of these features. Porting large codes to novel architectures such as Sunway is both time-consuming and expensive, as modifications throughout the code may be needed. One alternative to conventional porting is to consider an approach based upon Asynchronous Many Task (AMT) Runtimes such as the Uintah framework considered here. Uintah structures the problem as a series of tasks that are executed by the runtime via a task scheduler. The central challenge in porting a large AMT runtime like Uintah is thus to consider how to devise an appropriate scheduler and how to write tasks to take advantage of a particular architecture. It will be shown how an asynchronous Sunway-specific scheduler, based upon MPI and athreads, may be written and how individual taskcode for a typical but model structured-grid fluid-flow problem needs to be refactored. Preliminary experiments show that it is possible to obtain a strong-scaling efficiency ranging from 31.7% to 96.1% for different problem sizes with full optimizations. The asynchronous scheduler developed here improves the overall performance over a synchronous alternative by at most 22.8%, and the fluid-flow simulation reaches 1.17% the theoretical peak of the running nodes. Conclusions are drawn for the porting of full-scale Uintah applications.

Y. Yu, R.M. Kirby, G.E. Karniadakis. “Spectral Element and hp Methods,” In Encyclopedia of Computational Mechanics Second Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, pp. 1--43. 2018.


Spectral/hp element methods provide high‐order discretization, which is essential in the longtime integration of advection–diffusion systems and for capturing dynamic instabilities in solids. In this chapter, we review the main formulations for simulations of incompressible and compressible viscous flows as well as for solid mechanics and present several examples with some emphasis on fluid–structure interactions and interfaces. The first generation of (nodal) spectral elements was limited to relatively simple geometries and smooth solutions. However, the new generation of spectral/hp elements, consisting of both nodal and modal forms, can handle very complex geometries using unstructured grids and can capture strong shocks by employing discontinuous Galerkin methods. New flexible formulations allow simulations of multiphysics problems including extremely complex geometries and multiphase flows. Several implementation strategies have also been developed on the basis of multilevel parallel algorithms that allow dynamic p ‐refinement at constant wall clock time. After three decades of intense developments, spectral element and hp methods are mature and efficient to be used effectively in applications of industrial complexity. They provide the capabilities that standard finite element and finite volume methods do, but, in addition, they exhibit high‐order accuracy and error control.

Y.Y. Yu, S.Y. Elhabian, R.T. Whitaker. “Clustering With Pairwise Relationships: A Generative Approach,” In CoRR, 2018.


Semi-supervised learning (SSL) has become important in current data analysis applications, where the amount of unlabeled data is growing exponentially and user input remains limited by logistics and expense. Constrained clustering, as a subclass of SSL, makes use of user input in the form of relationships between data points (e.g., pairs of data points belonging to the same class or different classes) and can remarkably improve the performance of unsupervised clustering in order to reflect user-defined knowledge of the relationships between particular data points. Existing algorithms incorporate such user input, heuristically, as either hard constraints or soft penalties, which are separate from any generative or statistical aspect of the clustering model; this results in formulations that are suboptimal and not sufficiently general. In this paper, we propose a principled, generative approach to probabilistically model, without ad hoc penalties, the joint distribution given by user-defined pairwise relations. The proposed model accounts for general underlying distributions without assuming a specific form and relies on expectation-maximization for model fitting. For distributions in a standard form, the proposed approach results in a closed-form solution for updated parameters.

V. Zala, V. Shankar, S.P. Sastry, R.M. Kirby. “Curvilinear Mesh Adaptation Using Radial Basis Function Interpolation and Smoothing,” In Journal of Scientific Computing, Springer Nature, pp. 1--22. April, 2018.
DOI: 10.1007/s10915-018-0711-0


We present a new iterative technique based on radial basis function (RBF) interpolation and smoothing for the generation and smoothing of curvilinear meshes from straight-sided or other curvilinear meshes. Our technique approximates the coordinate deformation maps in both the interior and boundary of the curvilinear output mesh by using only scattered nodes on the boundary of the input mesh as data sites in an interpolation problem. Our technique produces high-quality meshes in the deformed domain even when the deformation maps are singular due to a new iterative algorithm based on modification of the RBF shape parameter. Due to the use of RBF interpolation, our technique is applicable to both 2D and 3D curvilinear mesh generation without significant modification.

J.L. Zitnay, S.P. Reese, G. Tran, N. Farhang, R.D. Bowles, J.A. Weiss. “Fabrication of dense anisotropic collagen scaffolds using biaxial compression,” In Acta Biomaterialia, Vol. 65, Elsevier BV, pp. 76--87. Jan, 2018.
DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2017.11.017


We developed a new method to manufacture dense, aligned, and porous collagen scaffolds using biaxial plastic compression of type I collagen gels. Using a novel compression apparatus that constricts like an iris diaphragm, low density collagen gels were compressed to yield a permanently densified, highly aligned collagen material. Micro-porosity scaffolds were created using hydrophilic elastomer porogens that can be selectively removed following biaxial compression, with porosity modulated by using different porogen concentrations. The resulting scaffolds exhibit collagen densities that are similar to native connective tissues (∼10% collagen by weight), pronounced collagen alignment across multiple length scales, and an interconnected network of pores, making them highly relevant for use in tissue culture, the study of physiologically relevant cell-matrix interactions, and tissue engineering applications. The scaffolds exhibited highly anisotropic material behavior, with the modulus of the scaffolds in the fiber direction over 100 times greater than the modulus in the transverse direction. Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells were seeded onto the biaxially compressed scaffolds with minimal cell death over seven days of culture, along with cell proliferation and migration into the pore spaces. This fabrication method provides new capabilities to manufacture structurally and mechanically relevant cytocompatible scaffolds that will enable more physiologically relevant cell culture studies. Further improvement of manufacturing techniques has the potential to produce engineered scaffolds for direct replacement of dense connective tissues such as meniscus and annulus fibrosus.


M. Adamaszek, H. Adams, E. Gasparovic, M. Gommel, E. Purvine, R. Sazdanovic, B. Wang, Y. Wang, L. Ziegelmeier. “Vietoris-Rips and Cech Complexes of Metric Gluings,” In CoRR, 2017.


We study Vietoris-Rips and Cech complexes of metric wedge sums and metric gluings. We show that the Vietoris-Rips (resp. Cech) complex of a wedge sum, equipped with a natural metric, is homotopy equivalent to the wedge sum of the Vietoris-Rips (resp. Cech) complexes. We also provide generalizations for certain metric gluings, i.e. when two metric spaces are glued together along a common isometric subset. As our main example, we deduce the homotopy type of the Vietoris-Rips complex of two metric graphs glued together along a sufficiently short path. As a result, we can describe the persistent homology, in all homological dimensions, of the Vietoris-Rips complexes of a wide class of metric graphs.

M. Berzins, D. A. Bonnell, Jr. Cizewski, K. M. Heeger, A.J.G. Hey, C. J. Keane, B. A. Ramsey, K. A. Remington, J.L. Rempe. “Department of Energy, Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC), Subcommittee on LDRD Review Final Report,” May, 2017.

M. Berzins. “Nonlinear Stability of the MPM Method,” In V International Conference on Particle-based Methods – Fundamentals and Applications. PARTICLES 2017, Edited by P. Wriggers, M. Bischoff, E. O˜nate, D.R.J. Owen, & T. Zohdi, pp. 671--682. 2017.


The Material Point Method (MPM) has been very successful in providing solutions to many challenging problems involving large deformations. The nonlinear nature of MPM makes it necessary to use a full nonlinear stability analysis to determine a stable timestep. The stability analysis of Spigler and Vianello is adapted to MPM and used to derive a stable timestep bound for a model problem. This bound is contrasted against a traditional CFL bound.

A. Bhatele, J. Yeom, N. Jain, C. J. Kuhlman, Y. Livnat, K. R. Bisset, L. V. Kale, M. V. Marathe. “Massively Parallel Simulations of Spread of Infectious Diseases over Realistic Social Networks,” In 2017 17th IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Cluster, Cloud and Grid Computing (CCGRID), May, 2017.
DOI: 10.1109/ccgrid.2017.141


Controlling the spread of infectious diseases in large populations is an important societal challenge. Mathematically, the problem is best captured as a certain class of reaction-diffusion processes (referred to as contagion processes) over appropriate synthesized interaction networks. Agent-based models have been successfully used in the recent past to study such contagion processes. We describe EpiSimdemics, a highly scalable, parallel code written in Charm++ that uses agent-based modeling to simulate disease spreads over large, realistic, co-evolving interaction networks. We present a new parallel implementation of EpiSimdemics that achieves unprecedented strong and weak scaling on different architectures — Blue Waters, Cori and Mira. EpiSimdemics achieves five times greater speedup than the second fastest parallel code in this field. This unprecedented scaling is an important step to support the long term vision of real-time epidemic science. Finally, we demonstrate the capabilities of EpiSimdemics by simulating the spread of influenza over a realistic synthetic social contact network spanning the continental United States (∼280 million nodes and 5.8 billion social contacts).

L. Bos, A. Narayan, N. Levenberg, F. Piazzon. “An Orthogonality Property of the Legendre Polynomials,” In Constructive Approximation, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 65--81. Feb, 2017.
ISSN: 0176-4276, 1432-0940
DOI: 10.1007/s00365-015-9321-3


We give a remarkable additional othogonality property of the classical Legendre polynomials on the real interval [−1,1]: polynomials up to degree n from this family are mutually orthogonal under the arcsine measure weighted by the degree-n normalized Christoffel function

A. Brown, B. Wang. “Sheaf-Theoretic Stratification Learning,” In CoRR, 2017.


In this paper, we investigate a sheaf-theoretic interpretation of stratification learning. Motivated by the work of Alexandroff (1937) and McCord (1978), we aim to redirect efforts in the computational topology of triangulated compact polyhedra to the much more computable realm of sheaves on partially ordered sets. Our main result is the construction of stratification learning algorithms framed in terms of a sheaf on a partially ordered set with the Alexandroff topology. We prove that the resulting decomposition is the unique minimal stratification for which the strata are homogeneous and the given sheaf is constructible. In particular, when we choose to work with the local homology sheaf, our algorithm gives an alternative to the local homology transfer algorithm given in Bendich et al. (2012), and the cohomology stratification algorithm given in Nanda (2017). We envision that our sheaf-theoretic algorithm could give rise to a larger class of stratification beyond homology-based stratification. This approach also points toward future applications of sheaf theory in the study of topological data analysis by illustrating the utility of the language of sheaf theory in generalizing existing algorithms.

J. Cates, L. Nevell, S. I. Prajapati, L. D. Nelon, J. Y. Chang, M. E. Randolph, B. Wood, C. Keller, R. T. Whitaker. “Shape analysis of the basioccipital bone in Pax7-deficient mice,” In Scientific Reports, Vol. 7, No. 1, Springer Nature, Dec, 2017.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-18199-9


We compared the cranial base of newborn Pax7-deficient and wildtype mice using a computational shape modeling technology called particle-based modeling (PBM). We found systematic differences in the morphology of the basiooccipital bone, including a broadening of the basioccipital bone and an antero-inferior inflection of its posterior edge in the Pax7-deficient mice. We show that the Pax7 cell lineage contributes to the basioccipital bone and that the location of the Pax7 lineage correlates with the morphology most effected by Pax7 deficiency. Our results suggest that the Pax7-deficient mouse may be a suitable model for investigating the genetic control of the location and orientation of the foramen magnum, and changes in the breadth of the basioccipital.

M. Chen, G. Grinstein, C. R. Johnson, J. Kennedy, M. Tory. “Pathways for Theoretical Advances in Visualization,” In IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE, pp. 103--112. July, 2017.


More than a decade ago, Chris Johnson proposed the "Theory of Visualization" as one of the top research problems in visualization. Since then, there have been several theory-focused events, including three workshops and three panels at IEEE Visualization (VIS) Conferences. Together, these events have produced a set of convincing arguments.

M. Feiszli, A. Narayan. “Numerical Computation of Weil-Peterson Geodesics in the Universal Teichmueller Space,” In SIAM Journal on Imaging Sciences, Vol. 10, No. 3, SIAM, pp. 1322--1345. Jan, 2017.
DOI: 10.1137/15M1043947


We propose an optimization algorithm for computing geodesics on the universal Teichm\"uller space T(1) in the Weil-Petersson (WP) metric. Another realization for T(1) is the space of planar shapes, modulo translation and scale, and thus our algorithm addresses a fundamental problem in computer vision: compute the distance between two given shapes. The identification of smooth shapes with elements on T(1) allows us to represent a shape as a diffeomorphism on S1. Then given two diffeomorphisms on S1 (i.e., two shapes we want connect with a flow), we formulate a discretized WP energy and the resulting problem is a boundary-value minimization problem. We numerically solve this problem, providing several examples of geodesic flow on the space of shapes, and verifying mathematical properties of T(1). Our algorithm is more general than the application here in the sense that it can be used to compute geodesics on any other Riemannian manifold.

K. Furmanova, S. Gratzl, H. Stitz, T. Zichner, M. Jaresova, M. Ennemoser, A. Lex, M. Streit. “Taggle: Scalable Visualization of Tabular Data through Aggregation,” In CoRR, 2017.


Visualization of tabular data---for both presentation and exploration purposes---is a well-researched area. Although effective visual presentations of complex tables are supported by various plotting libraries, creating such tables is a tedious process and requires scripting skills. In contrast, interactive table visualizations that are designed for exploration purposes either operate at the level of individual rows, where large parts of the table are accessible only via scrolling, or provide a high-level overview that often lacks context-preserving drill-down capabilities. In this work we present Taggle, a novel visualization technique for exploring and presenting large and complex tables that are composed of individual columns of categorical or numerical data and homogeneous matrices. The key contribution of Taggle is the hierarchical aggregation of data subsets, for which the user can also choose suitable visual representations.The aggregation strategy is complemented by the ability to sort hierarchically such that groups of items can be flexibly defined by combining categorical stratifications and by rich data selection and filtering capabilities. We demonstrate the usefulness of Taggle for interactive analysis and presentation of complex genomics data for the purpose of drug discovery.

S. Ghimire, J. Dhamala, J. Coll-Font, J. D. Tate, M. S. Guillem, D. H. Brooks, R. S. MacLeod, L. Wang. “Overcoming Barriers to Quantification and Comparison of Electrocardiographic Imaging Methods: A Community-Based Approach,” In Computing in Cardiology, Vol. 44, 2017.


There has been a recent upsurge in the development of electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI) methods, along with a significant increase in clinical application. To better assess the state-of-the-art, enable reliable progress, and facilitate clinical adoption, it is important to be able to compare results in a comprehensive manner, scientifically and clinically. However, studies vary in modeling choices, computational methods, validation mechanisms and metrics, and clinical applications, making unified evaluation and comparison of ECGI a critical challenge.

This paper describes initial results of a project to address this challenge via a community-based approach organized by the Consortium for Electrocardiographic Imaging (CEI). We detail different aspects of this collective effort including a data sharing repository, a platform for comparison of different algorithms and modeling approaches on the same datasets, several active workgroups and progress made along these directions. We also summarize the results from groups participating in this collaboration and contributing solutions by applying their methods to the same dataset for comparison.

T. Gilray, S. Kumar. “Toward parallel CFA with datalog, MPI, and CUDA,” In Scheme and Functional Programming Workshop, 2017.


We present our recent experience working to design parallel functional control-flow analysis (CFA) using an encoding in Datalog and underlying relational algebra implemented for SIMD coprocessors and supercomputers. Control-flow analysis statically models the possible propagations of data and control through a target program, finitely obtaining a bound on reachable expressions and environments and on possible return and argument values. We used Souffl´e, a parallel CPU-based Datalog implementation from Oracle labs, and worked toward a new MPI-based distributed hash join implementation and an extension of the GPU-based relational algebra library RedFox.

In this paper, we provide introductions to functional flow analysis, Datalog, MPI, and CUDA, explaining the total process we are working on to bring these components together in an analysis pipeline toward the end of scaling functional program analyses by extracting their intrinsic parallelism in a principled manner.