Multilevel Robustness for 2D Vector Field Feature Tracking, Selection, and Comparison

19 Sep 2022  ·  Lin Yan, Paul Aaron Ullrich, Luke P. Van Roekel, Bei Wang, Hanqi Guo ·

Critical point tracking is a core topic in scientific visualization for understanding the dynamic behavior of time-varying vector field data. The topological notion of robustness has been introduced recently to quantify the structural stability of critical points, that is, the robustness of a critical point is the minimum amount of perturbation to the vector field necessary to cancel it. A theoretical basis has been established previously that relates critical point tracking with the notion of robustness, in particular, critical points could be tracked based on their closeness in stability, measured by robustness, instead of just distance proximities within the domain. However, in practice, the computation of classic robustness may produce artifacts when a critical point is close to the boundary of the domain; thus, we do not have a complete picture of the vector field behavior within its local neighborhood. To alleviate these issues, we introduce a multilevel robustness framework for the study of 2D time-varying vector fields. We compute the robustness of critical points across varying neighborhoods to capture the multiscale nature of the data and to mitigate the boundary effect suffered by the classic robustness computation. We demonstrate via experiments that such a new notion of robustness can be combined seamlessly with existing feature tracking algorithms to improve the visual interpretability of vector fields in terms of feature tracking, selection, and comparison for large-scale scientific simulations. We observe, for the first time, that the minimum multilevel robustness is highly correlated with physical quantities used by domain scientists in studying a real-world tropical cyclone dataset. Such observation helps to increase the physical interpretability of robustness.

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