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1 Introduction     continued...

In each of these areas, we will first outline some general concepts and techniques and then discuss their implementation. Following a general overview, some implementations of scientific visualization techniques will be illustrated with examples. We believe that, in the area of scientific visualization, it is especially important to strike a balance between visualization concepts and techniques and the operational issues surrounding their implementation on specific hardware using specific software. In moving from one graphics workstation to another, a computational scientist encounters a great deal of diversity in graphics hardware and software capabilities. Also, graphics hardware and software are advances that are following a very steep growth curve. To remain current, the user of scientific visualization must endeavor to track this growth curve. A computational scientist who becomes implementation oriented (recipe bound), rather than concept oriented, is sure to fall behind.

Having argued that visualization concepts and techniques are foremost, we acknowledge that no scientific visualization gets done without implementation. For purposes of this chapter, we will assume that the implementation or actual visualization activity, takes one of two forms:

The computational scientist acts as an end user of an existing visualization software package.
The computational scientist develops some new visualization software that is specifically designed to aid in the analysis of the problem under study.