Visualisation is the process of applying computer graphics and algorithms to research data in order provide insight for the researcher. In the case of DARK, the data consists of simulations of galaxy formation and the large scale structure of the Universe, simulations that employ and indeed rely on the concept of Dark Matter. The visualisations shown in the Dark fulldome movie are the result of sophisticated simulations run by Alan Duffy and his collaborators on some of the most powerful computers available, including those managed by iVEC in Western Australia.
While visualisation is often initially geared towards the researcher, the visual outcomes are often informative, visually stunning and engaging and thus find applications in conveying the underlying scientific concepts to the wider community. This is the goal behind the visualisation scenes in the Dark production.
Generating high resolution imagery for modern digital planetariums is challenging, the image resolution is often many times the so called “high-def” of current digital television. Dark was made possible by special high resolution wide field of view video cameras owned by iVEC@UWA. Perhaps more importantly it was possible because of the supercomputers managed by iVEC that were used not only to run the simulations but also to render the huge data sets that result.