The Open Source Software Project Based on IBM's Visualization Data Explorer
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First choice for visualization tasks from creating insightful images to building complete applications

If you need visualization for anything from examining simple data sets to analyzing complex, time-dependent data from disparate sources, OpenDX has what you need: features and functions that let you easily gain meaningful insight into your data.

And if you are looking to build visualization applications for your end users, OpenDX has what you need: power to support their requirements and versatility for customized application development.

OpenDX is a uniquely powerful, full-featured software package for the visualization of scientific, engineering and analytical data: Its open system design is built on familiar standard interface environments. And its sophisticated data model provides users with great flexibility in creating visualizations.

Since its introduction in 1991 as Visualization Data Explorer, it has been continuously enhanced and expanded and now with the full source code available to you, the features are limitless. Some of the features that exist in the current software are described below.

Graphical User Interface

The GUI is built on the standard interface environment: OSF/Motif(tm) and X Window System(tm). The current version supports software-rendered images on 8-, 12-, 16-, 24-, and 32-bit windows.

The GUI has a wide variety of interactors, both direct and indirect. Direct interactors allow you to directly manipulate images (e.g. rotate or zoom). Indirect interactors (dials, switches, buttons, sliders) enable you to control various aspects of your visualization. Interactors are "smarter" because they're data-driven. Interactors are auto-ranging and self-limiting. They examine your data and, depending on its type, will determine the minimum and maximum of the data, or create a list for an option menu based on your data. You can even set the label of the interactor based on some aspect of your data (e.g., metadata). (Screen shot)

The data-driven concept is not simply for sliders, dials and option menus. It also applies to vector interactors. These will reconfigure themselves based on the dimensionality of the data. They will also auto-range themselves based on the maximum and minimum of each vector component. Both the ColorMap Editor and the Sequencer are also data-driven.

There are other features in the OpenDX Graphical User Interface that just make things a whole lot easier. Things such as the Data Prompter for importing data and the Module Builder for helping you build custom modules.

More and Better Functional Modules

OpenDX provides hundreds of functions. To make the system easier for you to use, these functions have been grouped into powerful, polymorphic modules. For example, "Compute" does the work of dozens of individual functions. It directly solves arbitrary algebraic and trigonometric equations, as well as recasts your data.

Enhanced Data Model

One of the most distinctive characteristics of OpenDX is its object-oriented, self-describing Data Model. Because it handles all your data input, regardless of source, in a uniform way, it allows individual modules to act appropriately. Moreover, OpenDX maintains the coordinate system throughout the realization and visualization steps. These are the reasons why correlating data from many sources is such a snap with OpenDX.

"Problem" data is not a problem. OpenDX has no problem with invalid data (e.g. data dropouts). It can handle overlapping grids with ease. And it handles data with nonuniform step sizes efficiently.

Advanced Execution Environment

OpenDX was designed to work in a client/server environment. It was also designed to run in parallel on a shared-memory multiprocessor.

Distributed processing gives you more power, greater efficiency. With OpenDX, you can distribute your visualization across multiple workstations in a heterogeneous environment. You can break up your visualization into appropriate segments and run the simultaneously--giving you, in effect, a parallel multiprocessor. And it's all done without programming. You just point-and-click.

What is OpenDX?

OpenDX is the open source software version of IBM's Visualization Data Explorer Product. The last release of Data Explorer from IBM was 3.1.4B; the open source version is based on this version with the license manager removed and set up to reflect an open source project. The developers have put in a lot of work to provide a clean set of code that can be compiled on a multitude of platforms.

Why is IBM giving it away?

Seeking to attract the creativity of the world's developer community to its Deep Computing efforts, the Institute is releasing the source code for IBM Visualization Data Explorer, a powerful software package used to analyze and create visual representations for Deep Computing applications. This action also sends a strong message to both the technical and business community about IBM's commitment to open and non-proprietary standards.