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As digital simulations and computations become more complex, larger volumes of output are generated; the engineer must select a concise method of displaying the output and extracting relevant information. In this paper we describe an experimental system called the Visual Interpretation System (VIS), which provides a wide range of tools for managing the visualization of simulation data. The effectiveness of VIS results from an interactive interface which controls a database manager and a visualization manager. The database consists of entities called data sets that carry a complete description of the geometry and time-dependent behavior of various properties of a simulated physical object. Visualization management involves both 2D and 3D imaging in multiple display windows and animation. Three-dimensional data imaging is based on optical modeling with back-to-front perspective projection. The optical model assigns color and attenuation to each point on the basis of its data value. With the appropriate choice of attenuation and color, the user can display multiple 3D regions, either as solids or transparently. This approach is not based on surfaces, nor does it require the data to have spatial continuity. The usefulness of VIS is demonstrated with data from a large-scale simulation of a transistor. We demonstrate how 3D visualization techniques provide insight into the physics of isolation-trench-bounded devices at both room and low temperatures, which facilitates the development of improved designs.
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