INTERNATIONALJOURNALFOR NUMERICAL METHODS IN ENGINEERING,VOL. 39, 355-356 (1996) BOOK REVIEW by Richard S. Gallagher, CRC Press, U.S.A., 1994. No.of pages: 312, ISBN 0-8493-9050-8, Price: 69.95 COMPUTER VISUALIZATION, edited Computer visualization has emerged as an important and widely used technology for interpreting scientific and engineering data obtained from observation, experiment or computer simulation. Today, most projects in computational science and engineering entail some use of visualization techniques. While research on new visualization techniques and the development of improved graphics systems continue, there are now available a good number of mature commercial visualization products-either as stand-alone products or as components within larger simulation and analysis systems. Visualization is a highly interdisciplinary field; computer graphics, numerical methods, application domains in science and engineering, geometric modelling, distributed computing, perceptual psychology, graphic arts, as well as distributed and parallel computing can all be involved. Whether one is engaged in developing new visualization capabilities or one is simply a user of available technology, some level of understanding of each of these topics is necessary for a successful result. The book Computer Visualization, edited by Richard S. Gallagher, provides a useful overview of several of these topics. The book contains a collection of articles by experts involved in developing visualization tools and in applying visualization to computational science and engineering. The book is organized in three sections. The first section opens with an introductory chapter by the volume’s editor that presents an overview of computer-aided engineering and visualization. The remainder of the section is devoted to an exposition of the fundamentals of computer graphics written by Alain Fournier and John Buchanan. This article covers the history of computer graphics, geometric models, transformations, display techniques, hidden line and surface removal, pixelbased rendering methods, and display system architectures. This chapter would be particularly CCC 0029-5981/96/020355-2 0 1996 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. useful for scientists and engineers who wish to familiarize themselves with the basic concepts and the jargon of computer graphics. The second section, including Chapters 3-7, is devoted to visualization techniques. In Chapter 3, Mark Shephard and William Schroeder describe the format, generation and content of data sets generated by numerical simulation. The emphasis is on engineering applications of the finite element method, although other numerical methods are also briefly discussed. This material should be of greatest interest to computer scientists and computer graphics experts who wish to deepen their understanding of the engineering applications served by visualization. In addition to surveying topics such as mesh generation, weak formulations and adaptive analysis, there is also a discussion of techniques for mapping element-based data sets to visualization images. Chapter 4, authored by Richard S. Gallagher, is devoted to visualization display techniques for scalar fields in one, two or three dimensions. Familiar techniques, such as contour plots and fringe plots, as well as more sophisticated methods for representing volumetric data sets are covered. A fair amount of algorithmic detail is included (e.g. for contouring data defined on isoparametric elements, for identifying the visible element faces in volumetric grids, etc.). There is a detailed discussion of display techniques for three-dimensional scalar fields, including discussions of the ‘marching cubes’ algorithm, particle sampling and volume slicing methods. This information is relevant to users of turnkey systems-familiarity with the inner workings of display algorithms may be critical to the proper interpretation of a visualization image. Chapter 5, by Thierry Delmarcelle and Lambertus Hesselink, presents a unified framework for flow visualization that emphasizes the critical step of mapping abstract scientific data into geometric form. A number of effectivevisualization mappings for scalar, vector and tensor-valued data sets are discussed. These include familiar techniques, such as streamline and vector arrow displays, as well as 356 BOOK REVIEW several novel techniques: texture-mapped streamline displays, displays that directly communicate the topology of a flow field and special techniques for portraying the global structure of tensor field data. Rendering methods for volumetric data represent the most notable advance in computer graphics technology associated with scientific visualization. Chapter 6, by Arie Kaufman and Lisa Sobierajski,is devoted to a fairly detailed review of this topic. Both surface rendering and volume rendering approaches are covered, including optimization methods for increasing the efficiency of these relatively compute-intensive algorithms. Section 2 closes with a chapter by Eric Pepke on animation and the display of time-dependent behaviour. A concise survey of video technology is included. Section 3 addresses 'Applications Issues and Future Trends'. In Chapter 8, David Parker presents an overview of software architectures for visualization systems. This chapter covers alternative models for defining and controlling visualization processes, parallel and distributed visualization systems as well as the important and non-trivial issue of data management. It references a number of commercially available soilware products, and would be helpful to any newcomer to visualization faced with the problem of choosing a visualization software product. Larry Richards discusses applications of visualization in computer-aided engineering and engineering design education in Chapter 9. In Chapter 10, the editor closes the book with a discussion of emerging trends in visualization, including increased interactivity and virtual reality, distributed visualization and hardware advances. Computer Visualizationsurveys a number of important topics in the interdisciplinary field of scientific visualization. There are a number of attractive colour plates, and each chapter includes bibliographic citations for those readers who seek-indepth coverage of a particular topic. The book should be of interest to physical scientists and engineers who wish to employ visualization in their work, as well as to computer graphics experts and computer scientists engaged in developing visualization systems. R. B. HABER University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics 216 Talbot Laboratory 104 South Wright Street Urbana Illinois 61807 U.S.A.