Research PortalVisualization


Using Compute Canada’s resources and technical expert help, you can easily convert the results of your numerical simulations or your experimental data into engaging images or movies to share with colleagues, to put online, or into a publication. Our technical staff have extensive experience in scientific visualization and visual data analysis, primarily using open-source tools such as ParaView, VisIt, VTK, Blender, VMD, and various Python libraries to work with a wide variety of data types. Large multi-dimensional datasets can be visualized directly on Compute Canada clusters without having to move them to your desktop. We can help you with all stages of visualization, from preparing data in the right format to interactive analysis. For more information, please contact us at
Compute Canada Visualization Working Group
Alex Razoumov, WestGrid (Lead)
Dmitri Rozmanov, U of Calgary
Jarno van der Kolk, U of Ottawa
Marcelo Ponce, U of Toronto
Maxime Boissonneault, U Laval
Michael Hanlan, Queen’s
Pier-Luc St-Onge, McGill
Tyson Whitehead, Western
Weiguang Guan, McMaster



Visualize This! is a Canada-wide competition that aims to celebrate the innovative ways visualization can help researchers to explore datasets and answer important scientific questions.

2017 Visualize This! Challenge was hosted by WestGrid, a regional partner of Compute Canada. Over 80 people expressed interest in participating in the competition, and we had some very strong submissions this year. After thoughtful deliberation, the jury has picked three winners.

The first place was taken by Jarno van der Kolk, a postdoctoral researcher from the University of Ottawa. Jarno’s visualization (shown below) was selected for its overall presentation, with a very informative voice-over. We especially appreciated the toy conceptual animation rendered entirely in ParaView and the use of programmable sources for rendering grass, the house, and the roof in the same scene with the turbine blades. The colour scheme for showing the wind speed was very nice, with red/blue indicating the flow which is faster/slower than the incoming air. Jarno’s visualization provided a clear explanation of what forces exactly drive the blades.

The second prize went to Nadya Moisseeva, a PhD student in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at UBC. Nadya’s work (shown below) was selected for its use of several innovative techniques in her visualization:

  • use of the Stream Tracer With Custom Source filter through a grid of seed points in a vertical cross-section (forcing the streamlines to be redrawn at each height),
  • animating the position of multiple integration time contours,
  • nice colour selection in the volumetric plots of regions of high/low pressure around the blades,
  • semi-transparent vorticity surfaces,
  • final multi-layer animation combining seven properties in a single timeline,
  • smooth continuous transitions between all animations,
  • informative burned-in captions, and
  • nice use of several rotation and displacement motions.

The third place was taken by Dan MacDonald, Thangam Natarajan, Richard Windeyer, Peter Coppin, and David Steinman, a joint team from the Biomedical Simulation Laboratory of the University of Toronto and the Perceptual Artifacts Laboratory of OCAD University. Their visualization (shown below) was selected for its unique use of Blender’s game engine to let a user walk through the ParaView-created scene, toggle the visibility of the various physical components, and for coupling the visual scene with the SuperCollider server to produce on-the-fly audio from selected Q-criterion under the microphone in Blender’s game engine.

The prizes for this competition were generously donated by Dell EMC (the first prize is a 43″ 4K Multi-Client Monitor) and Intel (the second and third prizes are 512 GB SSD drives). We would like to acknowledge both Dell EMC and Intel for their continued support of Advanced Research Computing in Canada!

A video of the 2016 Visualize This! winning submission from Allan Rocha, Usman Alim and Julio Daniel Silva from the University of Calgary is shown below.