Interactive Exploration of Objective Vortex Structures in Unsteady Flow using Observer Fields

  • Ghofran H. Shaker

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Successful characterization of vortex structures in unsteady flow fields depend crucially upon an adequate choice of a reference frame. Vortex detection approaches in flow visualization aspire to be objective, i.e., invariant under time-dependent rotations and translations of the input reference frame. However, objectivity by itself does not guarantee good results as different specific approaches lead to different results. Moreover, recent more generic approaches to objectivity still require parameters to be specified beforehand which can significantly influence the resulting vortex detection, depending on the complexity and characteristics of the input flow field. With the assumption that human intervention is unavoidable to some extent, we tackle the problem of specifying parameters for vortex detection from a human-centered perspective. In this work, we present a novel system that enables users to interactively explore the parameter space of a flexible objective method, while jointly computing and visualizing the resulting vortex structures. We build on the computation of an objective field of reference frames and enable users to interactively change computation parameters as well as choose different observers, compute vortex structures on-the-fly during exploration, and visualize the flow field from the viewpoint of the chosen observers. Overall, we illustrate that such an interactive approach can be of significant value to the user for analyzing vortex structures visually and understanding why a computational method has detected a specific structure as a vortex.
Date of AwardJul 2019
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering
SupervisorMarkus Hadwiger (Supervisor)


  • Vortices
  • Feature detection
  • Flow field

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