A terminology for in situ visualization and analysis systems

Hank Childs, Sean D. Ahern, James Ahrens, Andrew C. Bauer, Janine Bennett, E. Wes Bethel, Peer Timo Bremer, Eric Brugger, Joseph Cottam, Matthieu Dorier, Soumya Dutta, Jean M. Favre, Thomas Fogal, Steffen Frey, Christoph Garth, Berk Geveci, William F. Godoy, Charles D. Hansen, Cyrus Harrison, Bernd HentschelJoseph Insley, Chris R. Johnson, Scott Klasky, Aaron Knoll, James Kress, Matthew Larsen, Jay Lofstead, Kwan Liu Ma, Preeti Malakar, Jeremy Meredith, Kenneth Moreland, Paul Navrátil, Patrick O’Leary, Manish Parashar, Valerio Pascucci, John Patchett, Tom Peterka, Steve Petruzza, Norbert Podhorszki, David Pugmire, Michel Rasquin, Silvio Rizzi, David H. Rogers, Sudhanshu Sane, Franz Sauer, Robert Sisneros, Han Wei Shen, Will Usher, Rhonda Vickery, Venkatram Vishwanath, Ingo Wald, Ruonan Wang, Gunther H. Weber, Brad Whitlock, Matthew Wolf, Hongfeng Yu, Sean B. Ziegeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The term “in situ processing” has evolved over the last decade to mean both a specific strategy for visualizing and analyzing data and an umbrella term for a processing paradigm. The resulting confusion makes it difficult for visualization and analysis scientists to communicate with each other and with their stakeholders. To address this problem, a group of over 50 experts convened with the goal of standardizing terminology. This paper summarizes their findings and proposes a new terminology for describing in situ systems. An important finding from this group was that in situ systems are best described via multiple, distinct axes: integration type, proximity, access, division of execution, operation controls, and output type. This paper discusses these axes, evaluates existing systems within the axes, and explores how currently used terms relate to the axes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)676-691
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of High Performance Computing Applications
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • In situ processing
  • scientific visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture


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