Students Leading Development of New GRMHD Plasma Visualizations

Arizona graduate student, David Ball, is using the PIRE AR/VR Lab to develop virtual-reality visualizations of magnetohydrodynamic simulations of plasma around black holes. By learning the basics of graphics rendering on GPUs using algorithms called “shaders,” (found ubiquitously in game engines), he has developed interactive volume renderings of various fluid quantities from the simulations.

He will continue to improve on this virtual reality experience by including user-controlled time advancement of the simulations, adjusting the details of the volume rendering so that the visualizations are multicolored and more aesthetically pleasing, and overlaying magnetic field lines so that users can visualize the geometry of the magnetic fields on top of the volume rendering of the scalar fields.

While developing this new visualization technique, David is mentoring four undergraduate students who are working on different components of a new virtual reality project. The final product of this work will include the simultaneous simulation and visualization of particle trajectories in the vicinity of a black hole.