ViSlang: A system for interpreted domain-specific languages for scientific visualization

Peter Rautek, Stefan Bruckner, Meister Eduard Gröller, Markus Hadwiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Researchers from many domains use scientific visualization in their daily practice. Existing implementations of algorithms usually come with a graphical user interface (high-level interface), or as software library or source code (low-level interface). In this paper we present a system that integrates domain-specific languages (DSLs) and facilitates the creation of new DSLs. DSLs provide an effective interface for domain scientists avoiding the difficulties involved with low-level interfaces and at the same time offering more flexibility than high-level interfaces. We describe the design and implementation of ViSlang, an interpreted language specifically tailored for scientific visualization. A major contribution of our design is the extensibility of the ViSlang language. Novel DSLs that are tailored to the problems of the domain can be created and integrated into ViSlang. We show that our approach can be added to existing user interfaces to increase the flexibility for expert users on demand, but at the same time does not interfere with the user experience of novice users. To demonstrate the flexibility of our approach we present new DSLs for volume processing, querying and visualization. We report the implementation effort for new DSLs and compare our approach with Matlab and Python implementations in terms of run-time performance.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2388-2396
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 31 2014

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The research presented in this publication was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Visual Computing Center, and the ViMaL project (FWF - Austrian Science Fund, no. P21695).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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