Welcome to the Virtual Reality & Immersive Visualization Group
at RWTH Aachen University!

The Virtual Reality and Immersive Visualization Group started in 1998 as a service team in the RWTH IT Center. Since 2015, we are a research group (Lehr- und Forschungsgebiet) at i12 within the Computer Science Department. Moreover, the Group is member of the Visual Computing Institute and continues to be an integral part of the RWTH IT Center.

In a unique combination of research, teaching, services, and infrastructure, we provide Virtual Reality technologies and the underlying methodology as a powerful tool for scientific-technological applications.

In terms of basic research, we develop advanced methods and algorithms for multimodal 3D user interfaces and explorative analyses in virtual environments. Furthermore, we focus on application-driven, interdisciplinary research in collaboration with RWTH Aachen institutes, Forschungszentrum Jülich, research institutions worldwide, and partners from business and industry, covering fields like simulation science, production technology, neuroscience, and medicine.

To this end, we are members of / associated with the following institutes and facilities:

Our offices are located in the RWTH IT Center, where we operate one the largest Virtual Reality labs worldwide. The aixCAVE, a 30 sqm visualization chamber, makes it possible to interactively explore virtual worlds, is open to use by any RWTH Aachen research group.

Sebastian Freitag receives doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University

Today, our colleague Sebastian Freitag successfully passed his Ph.D. defense and received a doctoral degree from RWTH Aachen University for his thesis on "Supported Navigation in Immersive Virtual Environments". Congratulations!

Sept. 27, 2018

Tom Vierjahn takes over professorship for Computer Science at WH Bocholt

Today we had to say goodbye to our dear friend and colleague Tom Vierjahn. After four years of significant commitment and high personal involvement in our group’s research and teaching activities, Tom now takes over professorship at the Department of Business Studies and Information Technology at the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences in Bocholt. We will sadly miss him in Aachen, however, we wish him much fun and all the best for the new tasks and challenges ahead.

Our warmest congratulations, Prof. Dr. Tom Vierjahn!

Aug. 30, 2018

VR in Science and Industry – Successful Event and Announcement of the Network


July 18, 2018

Successful Presentations at ISC'18

At this year's International Supercomputing Conference from June 24 - 28, 2018 in Frankfurt scientists of the JARA-HPC presented latest research results at the exhibition and organized a workshop on In Situ Visualization.


July 17, 2018

Matt Larsen visits our group.

Matt Larsen is a staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Oregon in 2016. He is the primary developer for the ASCENT in situ library, as well as a key contributor to the VTK-m library and the VisIt visualization software. Matt's research interests include rendering for visualization, performance modeling for visualization, and many-core architectures.

July 11, 2018

Bernd Hentschel jointly organized a Dagstuhl Seminar on "In Situ Visualization for Computational Science"

Janine Bennett (Sandia National Lab, CA), Hank Childs (University of Oregon), Christoph Garth (TU Kaiserslautern), and Bernd Hentschel jointly organized a Dagstuhl Seminar on "In Situ Visualization for Computational Science". Being held in Schloss Dagstuhl, Germany between 2-6 July, the seminar brought together 39 experts from the fields of computational science, high-performance computing, and large-scale data visualization in order to discuss challenges and research opportunities with respect to highly scalable in situ visualization methods. Over the course of four and a half days, participants discussed a variety of topics in small working groups. The results of these discussions will be disseminated as a Dagstuhl Report, which outlines the current state of the field as well as a mid-term research agenda. Find more info at https://www.dagstuhl.de/de/programm/kalender/semhp/?semnr=18271.

July 2, 2018

Recent Publications

Feature Tracking by Two-Step Optimization

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG)

Tracking the temporal evolution of features in time-varying data is a key method in visualization. For typical feature definitions, such as vortices, objects are sparsely distributed over the data domain. In this paper, we present a novel approach for tracking both sparse and space-filling features. While the former comprise only a small fraction of the domain, the latter form a set of objects whose union covers the domain entirely while the individual objects are mutually disjunct. Our approach determines the assignment of features between two successive time-steps by solving two graph optimization problems. It first resolves one-to-one assignments of features by computing a maximum-weight, maximum-cardinality matching on a weighted bi-partite graph. Second, our algorithm detects events by creating a graph of potentially conflicting event explanations and finding a weighted, independent set in it. We demonstrate our method's effectiveness on synthetic and simulation data sets, the former of which enables quantitative evaluation because of the availability of ground-truth information. Here, our method performs on par or better than a well-established reference algorithm. In addition, manual visual inspection by our collaborators confirm the results' plausibility for simulation data.


Exploring Immersive Analytics for Built Environments

In Kim Marriott, Falk Schreiber et al. (eds.): Immersive Analytics, Springer International Publishing, pp. 331-357.

This chapter overviews the application of immersive analytics to simulations of built environments through three distinct case studies. The first case study examines an immersive analytics approach based upon the concept of “Virtual Production Intelligence” for virtual prototyping tools throughout the planning phase of complete production sites. The second study addresses the 3D simulation of an extensive urban area and the attendant immersive analytic considerations in an interactive model of a sustainable city. The third study reviews how immersive analytic overlays have been applied for virtual heritage in the reconstruction and crowd simulation of the medieval Cambodian temple complex of Angkor Wat.


Virtual Humans as Co-Workers: A Novel Methodology to Study Peer Effects

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics

We introduce a novel methodology to study peer effects. Using virtual reality technology, we create a naturalistic work setting in an immersive virtual environment where we embed a computer-generated virtual human as the co-worker of a human subject, both performing a sorting task at a conveyor belt. In our setup, subjects observe the virtual peer, while the virtual human is not observing them. In two treatments, human subjects observe either a low productive or a high productive virtual peer. We find that human subjects rate their presence feeling of \being there" in the immersive virtual environment as natural. Subjects also recognize that virtual peers in our two treatments showed different productivities. We do not find a general treatment effect on productivity. However, we find that competitive subjects display higher performance when they are in the presence of a highly productive peer - compared to when they observe a low productive peer. We use tracking data to learn about the subjects' body movements. Analyzing hand and head data, we show that competitive subjects are more careful in the sorting task than non-competitive subjects. We also discuss some methodological issues related to virtual reality experiments.

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