|Computer Graphics Laboratory, Stanford University|
|Title||Systems of Thought: When to Use Visual Representations in Problem Solving|
|Abstract||Many prominent computer scientists have proposed that every student should learn “computational thinking.” Computational thinking involves learning how to use computers to solve problems. It involves learning how to choose and design algorithms tailored to the problem, and how to build computer systems that implement these algorithms.
How does visual thinking fit into this broader effort? In this talk I will argue that both computational and visual thinking are examples of different “systems of thought.” A system of thought is a set of ideas and representations that help us efficiently structure our thinking. Others examples of systems of thought include logic, mathematics, and language. Each of these systems of thought has strengths and weaknesses.
There are problems where a visual representation immediately leads to the right answer. Unfortunately, many proponents of visualization advocate its use even though there are better approaches to solving the same problem. Furthermore, even if visualization is the appropriate tool, the most important first step is deciding how to depict the information. There are many subtle trade-offs in the choice of visual representation. Finally, experts often use multiple systems of thought synergistically. Many of the best examples of visualization occur when it is coupled with other ways of thinking.
|Bio||Pat Hanrahan is the CANON Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University where he teaches computer graphics. His current research involves visualization, image synthesis, virtual worlds, and graphics systems and architectures. Before joining Stanford he was a faculty member at Princeton.
Pat has also worked at Pixar where he developed developed volume rendering software and was the chief architect of the RenderMan(TM) Interface – a protocol that allows modeling programs to describe scenes to high quality rendering programs. In addition to PIXAR, he has founded two companies, Tableau and PeakStream, and served on the technical advisory boards of NVIDIA, Exluna, Neoptica, and VSee.
Professor Hanrahan has received three university teaching awards. He has received two Academy Awards for Science and Technology, the Spirit of America Creativity Award, the SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award, the SIGGRAPH Stephen A. Coons Award, and the IEEE Visualization Career Award. He was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
|Director Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Dept.|
|Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany|
|Title||Watching Biomolecular Nanomachines at Work: Simulation and Visualization|
Many proteins are molecular ’nano machines’; their conformational motion controls and often constitutes their biological function.
Computer simulations of these molecular dynamics enable one to study such conformational motions at the atomic level and to undertand the tricks how nature makes these nanomachines work amazingly efficiently. A number of examples shall demonstrate the approach as well as its limitations.
As the conformational motions are typically extraordinarily complex both in space and time, visualization techniques are essential in this context. Here, two demands will be highlighted: the demand (a) for interactive visualization approaches, and (b) for techniques such as principal component analysis or full correlation analysis to extract and visualize essential quantities from complex, high-dimensional data sets.
|Bio||Helmut Grubmüller received a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the Technical University of Munich, Germany, in 1994. Then he was postdoctoral assistant at the Theoretical Biophysics Group University of Munich. He made research visits to Laboratoire de Biophysique Moleculaire et Cellulaire, CENG, Grenoble, France; Theoretical Biophysics Group, Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, U.S.A.; Institute for Molecular Biology and Biophysics, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.
He headed Theoretical Molecular Biophysics Group at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, from 1998 to 2003. In 2003, he became Associate Professor for Biomolecular Sciences at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, and subsequently Director at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen and Head of the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Department. In 2005 he accepted a Honorary Professorship for Physics at the University of Göttingen.
Professor Grubmüller is member of the Reviewing Panel of the German Science Foundation (DFG) and Executive Committee Member of European Biophysical Societies’ Association (EBSA). He joined the Editorial Board of several international scientific journals.