IRIS Explorer

Collaborative Scientific Visualization through Visual Programming


Figure 1: Map Editor visualizing air flow dynamics.

Figure 2: Render Module detail of air flow over airplane nose.

In 1992, I was a software engineering intern at Silicon Graphics (SGI) working on the IRIS Explorer team under the management of Dr. Bob Brown, who was also the lead architect.

IRIS Explorer™ is an application-building system for collaborative scientific data visualization developed for use in distributed, heterogeneous environments. The user interface is a visual programming environment, whereby users graphically construct dataflow models (“maps”) by linking together and interacting with an extensive library of computation modules.

Figure 3: Map Editor visualizing a Buckminsterfullerene molecule.

The system was written in C/C++ on IRIX using the X11/Motif toolkit as well as SGI toolkits such as ImageVision™, for image processing and displaying of two-dimensional data, and both OpenGL™ and Open Inventor™, for rendering three-dimensional data.

I developed modules to optimize image processing routines; worked on projects in digital audio and speech recognition; and conducted general software testing. This was my first exposure real-world software engineering.

IRIS Explorer has been acquired and subsequently maintained by the Numerical Algorithms Group (NAG).

All images on this page © Silicon Graphics, Inc (SGI).