Advanced Scientific Visualization I: Knots and More

We are running three distinct demonstrations of knots.

1. The first is the software KnotPlot running as a mathematical drawing application. KnotPlot can be used either as an illustration tool for drawing knots or to perform experiments in knot theory. However, one doesn't have to be a practising knot theorist to make use of KnotPlot. Any knot enthusiast will enjoy the complex, evolving, three dimensional shapes. KnotPlot can be freely download from the KnotPlot web site www.knotplot.com.

2. The second demo is a live video feed from NewMIC showing KnotPlot running in "CAVE mode" in the immersive virtual reality room at NewMIC. This is a new version of KnotPlot which will allow researchers to interactively push and pull the knots around in 3D as if they were made of rope floating in the space about them. We expect this display mode will be especially useful to problems in physical knot theory where difficult to visualize objects (such as the surface of self-contact of a tightly pulled knot) can be explored in a much more intuitive fashion than with a traditional display.

3. The live table in the centre of the room is showing a continuously running third exhibit of knots. This exhibit consists of more than twenty sub-sequences, chosen randomly. Some of the sub-sequences themselves are themselves randomized, so the exhibit never quite repeats.

Plans are to provide similar functionality for Maple, MatLab and like packages in the next few months, and to mesh these with WestGrid.


Robert Scharein - scharein@cecm.sfu.ca - Senior CoLab Research Associate