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This paper describes a graphic rendering system for use in visualizing the behavior of three-dimensional physical systems. The tool is general and allows the user to characterize a great variety of phenomena. The only requirement is that the physical system be represented by variables defined on quantifiable positions (sites) within a three-dimensional grid. The variables may be discrete (e.g., binary), real, or even complex numbers. The first part of the paper gives a technical description of the graphic program, which is based on a graPHIGS™ interface; two versions of the code (in the C and FORTRAN languages) are available. The hardware platform consists of an IBM 5080 graphic workstation with a 5081 high-resolution monitor which can be driven either by a machine employing IBM System/3701 architecture with VM/XA1 (in our case a 30901 processor running under VM/XA) or by a RISC System/60001 workstation [we have used both an IBM RT2 System and (recently) an IBM RISC System/6000 processor] running under AIX2 . The second part of the paper describes three different examples of the application of this tool: discrete spin models, quantum chromodynamics (QCD), and three-dimensional turbulence. For spin systems and QCD, the physical problem consists in understanding the nature of the phase transition from disordered to ordered states of the system. In both cases a direct (i.e., through visualization) investigation of the system configurations reveals valuable information about properties such as the order of the transition, the behavior of the correlation length, and phase coexistence. We note, however, that the meaning of the site variables is very different in the two cases. In particular, for QCD the site variables are complex numbers, which we code by using a color table to represent the phase of the number and pixel size to represent a value proportional to the modulus. This kin- - d of coding is also used for three-dimensional turbulence. Here the analysis can show where dissipation phenomena take place in the fluid and characterize the geometrical nature of the set of dissipative structures.
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