Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH Zurich


Visualization - SS 21


Course Topics

This lecture provides an introduction into the visualization of scientific and abstract data. The lecture introduces into the two main branches of visualization: scientific visualization and information visualization. The focus is set onto scientific data, demonstrating the usefulness and necessity of computer graphics in other fields than the entertainment industry. The exercises contain theoretical tasks on the mathematical foundations such as numerical integration, differential vector calculus, and flow field analysis, while programming exercises familiarize with the Visualization Tool Kit (VTK). In a course project, the learned methods are applied to visualize one real scientific data set. The provided data sets contain measurements of volcanic eruptions, galaxy simulations, fluid simulations, meteorological cloud simulations and asteroid impact simulations.


This lecture opens with human cognition basics, and scalar and vector calculus. Afterwards, this is applied to the visualization of air and fluid flows, including geometry-based, topology-based and feature-based methods. Further, the direct and indirect visualization of volume data is discussed. The lecture ends on the visualization of abstract, non-spatial and multi-dimensional data by means of information visualization.


Fundamentals of differential calculus. Knowledge on numerical mathematics, computer algebra systems, as well as ordinary and partial differential equations is an asset, but not required.


This course is concluded with a 120 minutes written exam. The exam will take place on Friday, August 20, 09:00 - 11:00. We will have a consultation on Thursday, August 12, 10:00 - 12:00 in the usual Zoom room of the lecture.


The final grade will be computed from grades for the written exam (75%) and the course project (25%, compulsory continuous performance assessment). The course project is always graded and has not to be passed on its own. The grade of the course project will be announced at the end of the semester. The theoretical exercises are graded and the correct completion of 80% adds a bonus of 0.25 points to the final grade.


Number 263-5701-00L
Lecturers Prof. Markus Gross (, Prof. Tobias Günther (
Exercises Xianyao Zhang (
Byungsoo Kim (
Language English
Lecture Monday 12:15 - 14:00, Virtual (link only accessible within the ETH Network)
Exercise Monday 14:15 - 15:00, Virtual (link only accessible within the ETH Network)
Credits 5