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Priority Research Centre for Computer-Assisted
Research Mathematics and its Applications

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EViMS: Workshop on the Effective Use of Visualization in the Mathematical Sciences

23 – 25 November, 2012

Sponsored by


NOTICE: EVIMS 2 was held in November 2014. You can access its page here.

NOTICE: Abstracts are now available. See below

NOTICE: Draft programme is now available. See below

The Effective Use of Visualization in the Mathematical Sciences

"A truly popular lecture cannot teach, and a lecture that truly teaches cannot be popular. ... The most prominent requisite to a lecturer, though perhaps not really the most important, is a good delivery; for though to all true philosophers science and nature will have charms innumerably in every dress, yet I am sorry to say that the generality of mankind cannot accompany us one short hour unless the path is strewed with flowers."

Michael Faraday

We shall hold a 3-day workshop in November 2012 in Newcastle on more effective use of visualization in mathematics, physics, and statistics from the perspectives of education, research, and outreach. We hope to come to a more optimistic conclusion than Faraday.

Background and Objective

Visualization is used widely in the sciences and engineering, and indeed in the humanities, as a powerful and in many cases indispensable tool in the practice and teaching of those disciplines and in the communication of information to appropriate stakeholders. Such fields as nanotechnology and biotechnology, especially, exploit and demand visualization techniques of ever greater sophistication, exciting the enthusiasm of their stakeholders and indeed of the educated citizen who follows their progress.

Yet despite its fundamental dependence on relevant mathematical algorithms, the exploitation of visualization in the mathematical sciences themselves falls far short of its demonstrated potential. There is enough accumulated experience to assure us that by exploiting visualization more effectively we can make our subject matter more engaging to the consumer and also catalyse fertile research opportunities that traditional computational techniques are unlikely to expose. Mathematicians gain new insights by visualizing numbers in various ways, e.g., by viewing large matrices and pictures or by mapping the digits of numbers such as Pi to walks of certain kinds. More sophisticated tools are needed for such exploits.

While different stakeholders would like to see their tools used more widely, in many cases the tools that are available are not being propagated beyond the aficionados who have the motivation to seek them out and apply them productively in their specific field. This situation tends to create a kind of an elite and thereby a continuing perception that facility with those tools is orthogonal to, rather than an integral component of, one's expertise in a particular science. Visualization has not yet become part of the mainstream of the mathematical sciences, despite its universal recognition as a vital cognitive mechanism.

On that premise the workshop will bring together leading representatives of universities and schools, CSIRO, IBM, and other parts of the public and private sectors, to explore how our common objective of maintaining and improving the health of the mathematical sciences can be furthered through better use of visualization as offered by modern graphics and other capabilities, and aided by the continuing operation of Moore's Law. As the use of visualization consequently becomes more pervasive and mainstream, the hope and indeed the expectation is that demand and supply will generate each other in an ongoing cycle that delivers an impressive portfolio of tools, attracting the positive attention of funding sources and promising sustained benefits to our work.


Contributions are sought from both producers and consumers of visualization tools on ways in which their use can enhance the effectiveness of research and development, teaching, and outreach in the mathematical sciences. For example, we would like to hear from mathematicians on what their research can offer in terms of new and more powerful visualization tools, and from representatives of the research and teaching communities on what opportunities they see for the fertile use of visualization in their specific environments, and in reaching out to their wider communities. We are also interested in seeing case studies where demonstrable outcomes have been achieved that are at least partly attributable to the use of visualization.

This meeting is also intended to start a discourse and to explore future avenues for resourcing ongoing activity.

Workshop Format

The first day will be a plenary session involving all participants. The second/third day will be a satellite meeting for technologists and researchers.

Organizing Committee

Jon Borwein (CARMA), Richard Vella (Newcastle), Louise Ryan (CSIRO, UTS), Michael Barnsley (ANU/MSI), Glenn Wightwick (IBM), Geoff Prince (AMSI), Jennifer Seberry (University of Wollongong), Judy-anne Osborn (CARMA)

Workshop Contact



Further details of talks are also available on the abstracts page.

Friday, 23rd November: Main Workshop: V109

12:00 — 13:00Sandwich lunch
13:00 — 13:45Maths Visualization — Historical, Theoretical, and Practical Perspective
Michael Barnsley (ANU)
13:45 — 14:15Walking on Real Numbers
Fran Aragon
14:15 — 14:45Modeling, Creativity, Music and Mathematics
Richard Vella and Jon Drummond
14:45 — 15:00Coffee break
15:00 — 15:45Making of "A Mathematical Picturebook"
Konrad Polthier
15:45 — 17:00Panel Session and Audience Discussion: Next Steps
Chair: Gerard Joseph (IBM)
17:00 — 18:30Reception with special guest Prof. Mike Calford

Saturday, 24th November: Research Workshop (Day 1): V104

10:30 — 11:00Visualising Biological Data for Research and for Outreach (Keynote)
Sean O'Donoghue (CSIRO and Garvan Institute for Medical Research)
11:00 — 11:10Geometric Sculptures
William Cummins
11:10 — 11:30Morning tea
11:30 — 11:45Visualizing Solutions of Partial Differential Equations
Bishnu Lamichhane
11:45 — 12:15Visualising Patterns of Correlated Gene Expression in Blood Transcriptomes
Tobias Sargeant
12:15 — 13:30Lunch
13:30 — 14:15Using Rhinoceros and Mathematica to
Produce 3-D Printed Models

Henry Segerman
(Computer lab session, V105)
14:15 — 14:45Afternoon tea
14:45 — 15:00Visualization and My Thoughts for Its Use in Education
Malcolm Roberts
15:00 — 15:30How to Draw a Graph, Revisited
Peter Eades
18:30Self-hosted dinner at Chinois Restaurant, 326 King Street, Newcastle

Sunday, 25th November: Research Workshop (Day 2): V104

10:00 — 10:30Viz Package for the GAP Computer Algebra System
Attila Egri-Nagy
10:30 — 10:35An idea of Jenny Seberry's
Presented by Judy-anne Osborn
10:35 — 11:05Visualizing Maximal Determinant Matrices
Judy-anne Osborn
11:05 — 11:30Morning tea
11:30 — 12:00The R System — A Broad Umbrella for Visualization
John Maindonald
12:00 — 12:30Seeing Things in Mathematics
Jon Borwein
12:30 — 01:30Lunch


The conference will be held in the Mathematics Building at the University of Newcastle. Friday's talks will be in V109, and the weekend's talks will be in V104; refreshments and discussion space will be hosted the CARMA room (V205).


Sydney Airport to Newcastle

For those arriving at Sydney Airport we recommend taking the train to Newcastle. Take the Airport & East Hills train from Domestic/International Airport Station to Central Station and then the Newcastle and Central Coast train from Central Station to Newcastle Station. From Newcastle Station it is an easy walk to the recommended hotels. For more information and/or to plan your exact trip times see the CityRail website at www.cityrail.info.

Alternatively, there is the Happy Cabby Airport Shuttle Service which you will need to book in advance.

Newcastle Airport to Newcastle

For those arriving at the Newcastle Airport we recommend taking a taxi to Newcastle. The taxi rank is adjacent to the arrivals area of the terminal. Newcastle Taxis can be contacted directly, free-of-charge, on the dedicated taxi phone located in the arrivals end of the terminal.

Alternatively, you can catch the 130 or 131 bus from the Newcastle Airport to the Newcastle Station. From Newcastle Station it is an easy walk to the recommended hotels. For more information and/or to plan your exact trip times see the CityRail website or the Port Stephens Coaches timetables.

Local Transportation in Newcastle

Newcastle Taxis: bookings can be made online or by calling 133 300 within Australia.

Newcastle Buses: the free green 555 Newcastle Shuttle Bus runs every 20 minutes, seven days a week, on a continuous loop around the city centre.

Contact Information

If you have any questions, please contact

Judy-anne Osborn
Telephone: (02) 492 15543
Facimile: (02) 492 16898

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