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Making the Unseen Real.
From dancing black holes to colliding neutron stars, NCSA transforms data that’s hard to imagine into visuals that are impossible to forget.

Dating as far back as the cave paintings created in Lascaux, France, imagery, or visualizations, have been used to communicate to one another. At NCSA, visualization closes the gap between what we learn and how, turning raw data into powerful visual displays that resonate with meaning. From the inner workings of the human cell to complex events unfolding at the outer edge of space, visualizations help researchers communicate complex ideas effectively, turning mystery into understanding.

Visualizations from NCSA

Using a breadth of technologies, including custom software, machine learning and much more, NCSA brings science to life across a wide range of domains, from astronomy to earth sciences to genomics. Multi-dimensional representations of data, information, and processes can be displayed in a wide variety of manners at NCSA, including, but not limited to, interactive applications, scientific and cinematic video narratives, planetarium dome shows, and mixed-reality applications. Representative examples of the different types of visualizations at NCSA are shown in the carousel below.

Visualization Services at NCSA

Cinematic and scientific visualization video narratives

Production of high-fidelity, high-resolution videos representing data-mapped visualizations to share with the scientific community, funding agencies and as outreach for the general public. Examples include high-quality images, videos, documentaries and dome-show productions.

Interactive visualization applications

Computer programs designed to allow users to interactively control aspects of mapping of data to graphical representations. Example programs include web-based applications, visualization software sessions, or custom-designed 3D programs.

Mixed reality visualization experiences

Applications designed and developed to provide users with an immersive interactive experience with data-mapped visualizations and processes leveraging state of the art technology in virtual reality, augmented reality, or mixed reality.


General support for questions regarding visualization software packages, data conversion and graphical representation. 


NCSA visualization provides support for grant-writing activities involved with incorporating aspects of visualization services at NCSA. See Illinois Computes for a way to work with us, at no cost to you.

Visualization Program Office Links

AVL YouTube page
Data Exploration Lab (DXL) website
Data Analytics and Visualization webpage
Visual Analytics Group website

Project Highlights

Artistic representation of the Earth as a globe with an overlaying compass and lines in cyan and green

Atlas of a Changing Earth

With stunning visuals created by AVL, this fascinating documentary explains how a revolution in map making is shedding new light on global warming and its impact on the planet.

Dark blue gloves hold a blue-green to purple gradient strip with a barcode sticker on the bottom. Various clear boxes in the background contain more strips.

Tumor Phylogeny

Find out how visualizing the progression of tumors can help clinicians provide more targeted treatment for patients with cancer.

Purple, green, yellow, and orange star shaped diffractions a black background

Reciprocal Space X-ray Diffraction

This project integrated automatic generation of imagery using VisIt into the GridChem Computational Chemistry Grid to simulate diffraction in alumina.

Collage of photographs of abstract imagery and visualization in technology, health sciences, and visualization


CADENS (The Centrality of Advanced Digitally ENabled Science) is a National Science Foundation-supported project to increase digital literacy and inform the general public about computational and data-enabled scientific discovery.


In the News
Arushi Jain performs at Krannert during Pygmalion 2023. She's standing in front of a large technical device with a lot of wires called a modular synthesizer. The screen behind her is full of purple tinted stars.

Music to Your Eyes

Mixing sight and sound, NCSA’s AVL team joined musician Arushi Jain to create a concert experience like no other


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