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Fine-grained visualization pipelines and lazy functional languages

Walllace, Malcolm, Rita, Borgo, Colin, Runciman and Duke, David (2006) Fine-grained visualization pipelines and lazy functional languages. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics. pp. 973-980. ISSN 1077-2626

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The pipeline model in visualization has evolved from a conceptual model of data processing into a widely used architecture for implementing visualization systems. In the process, a number of capabilities have been introduced, including streaming of data in chunks, distributed pipelines, and demand-driven processing. Visualization systems have invariably built on stateful programming technologies, and these capabilities have had to be implemented explicitly within the lower layers of a complex hierarchy of services. The good news for developers is that applications built on top of this hierarchy can access these capabilities without concern for how they are implemented. The bad news is that by freezing capabilities into low-level services expressive power and flexibility is lost. In this paper we express visualization systems in a programming language that more naturally supports this kind of processing model. Lazy functional languages support fine-grained demand-driven processing, a natural form of streaming, and pipeline-like function composition for assembling applications. The technology thus appears well suited to visualization applications. Using surface extraction algorithms as illustrative examples, and the lazy functional language Haskell, we argue the benefits of clear and concise expression combined with fine-grained, demand-driven computation. Just as visualization provides insight into data, functional abstraction provides new insight into visualization.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: "This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder." © 2006 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE."
Keywords: Pipeline model,functional programming,laziness
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Computer Science (York)
Depositing User: Rita Borgo
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2007
Last Modified: 22 May 2016 14:29
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TVCG.2006.145
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1896

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