HTML5 – WebGL Application in Scientific Simulation

webGL is new technology for the web browsers make programmers capable to design 3D contents inside the web pages. There are many demos and examples in the internet used this technology that can be found by a simple search. In this article I want to focus on webGL usage in scientific related simulations.

Our solar system simulation or common things like it, are made by many developers; but how about complex and advanced technologies? I try to illustrate some examples of this kind.

First I have found a book with the name “Visualization of molecular structures using state-of-the-art techniques in WebGL” published by Springer. The authors have done a fluid dynamic simulation. In its abstract we read:

webgl in cellular automata“We here present the preliminary release of Swii2, a web application for debris flows simulation. The core of the system is Sciddica-k0, the latest release of the Sciddica debris flow Cellular Automata family, already successfully applied to the 1997 Albano lake (Italy) debris flow. In Swii2, the Sciddica-k0 model runs server-side, while a Web 2.0 application controls the simulation. The graphical user interface is based on HTML5 and JavaScript, which permits to have a fully portable application. The client is able to control the basic Sciddica-k0 simulation functionalities thanks to asynchronous callbacks to the server. Simulation results are visualized in real time by means of a 3D interactive visualization system based on WebGL, a cross-platform application program interface used to create 3D graphics in Web browsers. Eventually, user-oriented cooperative services, which desktop applications in general do not offer, are conjectured and discussed.”

Another great job is done about visualization of molecular structures presented in an article named “Visualization of molecular structures using state-of-the-art techniques in WebGL“. The authors said in its abstract:

“The potential of web browsers as a platform for remote visualization has long been recognized. One of the motivations behind remote visualization has mainly been large data that cannot be easily transferred to the client. Further impeding factors for local visualization at the client side included lack of compute power or capabilities as well as lack of native support for hardware-accelerated APIs in the browser. However, moving the visualization to a remote site is challenging because of high latency and low available bandwidth affecting interactivity and visual quality. Although bandwidth is continuously improving, latency remains an issue. To obtain optimal interactivity, the rendering needs to be performed on the client machine. With the introduction of WebGL, it is now possible to exploit the power of the GPU inside the browser without third-party additions. We present a GPU-based ray-casting technique for the visualization of molecular structures that adheres to the restrictions of WebGL. We describe implementation details with respect to these restrictions and present the results and performance. Biomolecules with tens of thousands of atoms can be rendered at interactive rates. This shows the potential of establishing the web as an attractive platform for interactive visualization using GPU-accelerated algorithms.”

And finally there was a great scientific conference in the year 2014 in Vancouver, Canada with tha name “19TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON 3D WEB TECHNOLOGY” that invited all developers to participate.

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