Eclipse Advanced Visualization Project

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Visualization is a critical part of science and engineering projects and has roles in both setting up problems and post-processing results. The input or "construction" side can include things like constructing 3D geometries or volume meshes of physical space and the post-processing side can include everything from visualizing those geometries and meshes to plotting results to analyzing images to visualizing real data to almost everything else imagineable. There are numerous technologies for performing these tasks and most of them, with the exception of SWT-XY-GRAPH, are unavailable natively in the Eclipse ecosystem.

This work proposes to develop new visualization technologies based on the needs of projects in the working groups and to provide a framework for integrating these and third-party visualization technologies seemlessly with the workbench. The integration framework, which is part of the initial contribution that will be moved from the Eclipse Integrated Computational Environment (ICE), uses pluggable OSGi services to standardize the way that all integrated visualization products interact with the platform. Several abstractions are made for common elements such as plots and construction canvases and editable properties are provided by the implementations. Each visualization service realizes a standard interface (IVizService) that provides factory methods for constructing the widgets.

This work also proposes to develop a standalone, executable Eclipse product (flavor), complete with its own perspective and views, that can be downloaded by users and in which all of the integrated capabilities may be used in a pure visualization context. This insures that the project will be able to stand as its own product without being a kind of hidden project that is integrated into other projects.

Development of Swing/AWT Widget

The development of Swing/AWT widgets is beyond the scope of this work, although there is nothing in the design that fundamentally prevents such a development. Contributions from the community that extend the platform to support Swing/AWT widgets are welcome but will not be pursued.


The picture below shows some of the proposed capabilities that would be part of this project. The collage shows a 3D constructive solid geometry created interactively in the top left, a domain-specific view of a nuclear reactor plant in the bottom left, 2D plots of neutron scattering data in the top right and a 3D view of a prismatic cell battery, commonly used in phones and laptops, with its temperature as a function of time color mapped onto it in the bottom right.

The plot of neutron scattering data is rendered using SWT-XY-GRAPH, but all of the other images are provided by third party services that are integrated with the visualization service framework. The view of the battery is actually rendered by VisIt, a third party tool for 3D visualization and post-processing that is written in C/C++ and executes as a separate process.

A collage showing plotting, 3D geometry, domain-specific (nuclear reactors), and post-processing visualizations in Eclipse ICE.

The next picture shows some of the proposed imaging capabilities in the initial contribution, courtesy of Marcel Austenfeld from his Bio7 project ( It shows a standard United States National Institutes of Health sample image for ImageJ, specifically, according to their website:

"This image is made from a Molecular Probes demo slide:

   Cells: bovine pulmonary arthery endothelial cells
   Blue: nucleus stained with DAPI
   Green: Tubulin stained with Bodipy FL goat anti-mouse IgG
   Red: F-Actin stained with Texas Red X-Phalloidin"

Nucleus stained with DAPI


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