Visualization Laboratory

Peter B. Lewis Science Library 347

Visual computing tools are natural components of any computational research enterprise, and become essential as the spatial and temporal resolution and scale of empirical and simulated datasets increases. Visualization codes and applications supported by Princeton's Research Computing team (through OIT, PICSciE, and TIGRESS) run the gamut from libraries linked to codes running on a single researcher's laptop to full-fledged scientific visualization applications running in parallel on national computing resources at supercomputing centers. We also support geospatial computing and analysis with industry-leading GIS, image analysis and remote sensing applications.

The Visualization Laboratory is located in Room 347 of the Peter B. Lewis Science Library, adjacent to the Research Computing staff offices. This facility provides advanced visualization resources, including high-resolution screens, support for scientific visualization, geospatial codes, and applications on Linux, Windows, and Mac platforms.  It also provides a high resolution video camera, wireless microphones, and assistive listening devices.

PICSciE recently installed two 85" Samsung 4K screens in the Visualization Lab. The display resolution is 3840 x 2160 providing over 8 million pixels per screen. The screens are side-by-side on the wall of the lab so we can have one continuous desktop with over 16 million pixels. The display is bright enough to operate in typical room lighting.

For presenters

- You can use your own laptop, or choose one of 3 installed computers for driving the screens:
     1. Mac Pro 4 core Xeon with dual AMD FirePro D500 graphics
     2. Dell Precision 5810 4 core with Nvidia Quadro M5000 graphics running Windows
     3. Dell Precision 5810 4 core with Nvidia Quadro M5000 graphics running Linux

Each computer has a wireless mouse and keyboard.
Presenters can bring USB flash drives or download files from websites and email.

- If you use your own laptops:
    1. At the lectern there are cables for connecting a guest laptop.
    2. Please make sure your laptop has one of the following connections:

  • DisplayPort
  • Mini DisplayPort (typical on Macs, i.e. thunderbolt)
  • HDMI

Multiple users in the room can present their laptop wirelessly on the screens through Apple TV or a Barco Clickshare.

Speakers alongside the screens provide audio.

A small touchscreen at the lectern is used to select the input to the 4K screens.  The primary UI enables selecting one computer to drive both screens.  In "Advanced Mode" a user can select one computer for screen A and another computer for screen B.

Possible applications

The high resolution, large format screens are an effective configuration for:

1. Visualization of data for exploration and communication.
2. Small group, collaborative work and help sessions.
3. Presentations by guest speakers.
4. Educational labs, workshops, and technical training.
5. A/V conferencing through Windows applications such as Zoom or Skype.

Reserve the Visualisation Lab

Princeton faculty, staff and students can reserve the Visualisation Lab by contacting Andrea Rubinstein. Although the lab's maximum capacity is 50 persons, collaborative use of the display wall is optimal for smaller groups of about a dozen.

Visualization Consortium

The Princeton Visualization Consortium is a collaboration between PICSCiE, the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. Researchers in all disciplines are working with increasingly large amounts of data. Visualization provides methods to verify, explore, and communicate the results of simulations and experiments. Here are some examples.

Weekly Help Session in Visualization

We offer an open, walk-in help session every Thursday afternoon from 2:00 - 3:00 pm in 347 Lewis Library. No appointment necessary.

The Help Session is an opportunity to meet with research computing staff for one-on-one help with data visualization. We can discuss visualization programs, techniques, and data formats. In particular, how to effectively display your data.

If you are working with large amounts of data on the Princeton High Performance Computing environment you can learn about remote visualization from tigressdata.princeton.edu.

Email your questions

For help at other times, please email cses@princeton.edu.  This email is monitored by several staff members, and will get questions and requests answered as quickly as possible. Services we provide include:

  • consulting with students, faculty and staff to select appropriate software tools
  • training/short-course development and delivery
  • assistance with geospatial and visualization codes and data formats
  • technical support for the visualization lab