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Design and control of vector fields is critical for many visualization and graphics tasks such as vector field visualization, fluid simulation, and texture synthesis. The fundamental qualitative structures associated with vector fields are fixed points, periodic orbits, and separatrices. In this paper, we provide a new technique that allows for the systematic creation and cancellation of fixed points and periodic orbits. This technique enables vector field design and editing on the plane and surfaces with desired qualitative properties. The technique is based on Conley theory, which provides a unified framework that supports the cancellation of fixed points and periodic orbits. We also introduce a novel periodic orbit extraction and visualization algorithm that detects, for the first time, periodic orbits on surfaces. Furthermore, we describe the application of our periodic orbit detection and vector field simplification algorithms to engine simulation data demonstrating the utility of the approach. We apply our design system to vector field visualization by creating data sets containing periodic orbits. This helps us understand the effectiveness of existing visualization techniques. Finally, we propose a new streamline-based technique that allows vector field topology to be easily identified.