Colormapping Strategies for Large Multivariate Data in Scientific Applications

The IDEAS Productivity project, in partnership with the DOE Computing Facilities of the ALCF, OLCF, and NERSC and the DOE Exascale Computing Project (ECP) has resumed the webinar series on Best Practices for HPC Software Developers, which we began in 2016.

As part of this series, we offer one-hour webinars on topics in scientific software development and high-performance computing, approximately once a month. The August webinar is titled Colormapping Strategies for Large Multivariate Data in Scientific Applications, and will be presented by Francesca Samsel (Texas Advanced Computing Center). The webinar will take place on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 1:00 pm ET.


In order for scientific visualizations to effectively convey insights of computationally-driven research, as well as to better engage the public in science, visualizations must effectively and affectively facilitate the exploration of information. The presenter and her team employ a transdisciplinary approach, that includes insights from artistic color theory, perceptual science, the visualization community, and domain scientists, to move beyond basic default colormaps. While color has always been utilized and studied as a component of scientific data visualization, it has been demonstrated that its full potential for discovery and communication of scientific data remains untapped.

The webinar will discuss how effective color use can reveal structures, relationships, and hierarchies between variables within a visualization, as well as practical strategies and workflows for tailor color application to the goals of the visualization. The presenter’s work is documented and freely available for use at, a hub for research and resources related to color in scientific visualization. SciVisColor provides tools and strategies that allow scientists to use color as a tool to better understand and communicate their data. Users can explore and download colormaps, color sets, and ColorMoves an interactive interface for using color in scientific visualization above.

The webinar will introduce concepts that can help developers make design decisions when writing simulation codes, to make better use of scientific visualization tools and visualize results more effectively.