Advanced Visualization Suite


The Advanced Visualization Suite (AVS) is a set of tools to enable and enrich mathematical collaboration in visually rich display environments.

KnotPlot in an immersive VR environment (caveKnotPlot)

KnotPlot has been ported to run in the Immersive Media Lab (IML) at the New Media Innovation Centre (NewMIC) using CAVELib™. This new version of KnotPlot opens up exciting possibilities. For example, in the field of physical knot theory (knots considered as tangible physical objects), researchers are interested in the surfaces of self-contact of a tightly pulled knot. By being able to easily move around and peer into such a knot in a VR environment, we expect that investigating how such surfaces behave (or whether they are even surfaces) as the knot is pulled tight will be made much simpler.

caveKnotPlot is not yet available at the KnotPlot download site, but interested researchers with access to a CAVE may request a copy by sending me email.


KPUI is the KnotPlot User Interface. Since KnotPlot was originally implemented in the pre-X days of IRIX on a Silicon Graphics machine, there was a need to implement a package for sliders, buttons, and other user interface objects. Originally, the user interface was implemented in IRIS-GL. The current implementation is in OpenGL/GLUT. Since it doesn't depend on any specific windowing system, KPUI has been relatively easy to port to CAVELib. This allows easy integration of a graphical user interface into and CAVELib application, with full support for menus, buttons, sliders, and text objects. KPUI has been used to augment a number of CAVELib programs in the AVS.

Polyhedron Visualizer

A simple program to explore a wide range of polyhedra. This program is being extended to take advantage of the immersive environment in the CAVE. One extension is to investigate the stellations of a given polyhedron. Stellation involves slicing three dimensional space into convex cells and reassembling these cells to form new polyhedra. This is often quite difficult to visualize. The CAVE version of the polyhedron visualizer will allow for interactive slicing and assembly of stellations. 

Polytope explorer

This application is in collaboration with Godfried Toussaint of McGill University. It is a tool that will help Toussaint and his colleagues investigate whether a conjecture they have about convex polytopes in 3D is true. Because the immersive environment allows for much more natural interaction in three dimensions (especially using the six degree of freedom hand-held wand), we hope that new this will quickly lead to new insights. Research using this tool will start in March 2003.

Other applications

Because KPUI allows for easy porting of nearly any OpenGL/GLUT application to the CAVE environment, there will soon be a number of simple but interesting applications available for use in the IML. While none of these are designed as research tools, they are

Curved Spaces in the CAVE

This is an exciting and innovative use of the CAVE environment.

CoLab My home page KnotPlot Research Site Knot theory