# 2. Data Analysis

This section describes two important abstractions in VisIt: Queries and Expressions.

## 2.1. Queries

### 2.1.1. What are queries

Queries are a mechanism for performing data analysis. Example use cases include querying for a number or curve that helps to describe the data set.

### 2.1.2. Experiment with queries

Go to

*Controls->Query*.This brings up the Query window.

## 2.2. Queries over Time

### 2.2.1. What are queries over time

Queries over time perform analysis through time and generate a time-curve.

### 2.2.2. Experiment with queries over time

#### 2.2.2.1. Weighted Variable Sum

Go to

*Controls->Query*.This brings up the Query window.

Go back to the

*GUI*, delete any existing plots, open up “wave.visit”, and make a Pseudocolor plot of*pressure*.Find and Highlight

*Weighted Variable Sum*and click*Do Time Query*.Options for changing the

*Starting timestep*,*Ending timestep*and*Stride*will be available.

Note that these are 0-origin timestate indices and not cycles or times.

Click

*Query*.

The result will be displayed in a new Window. By default the x-axis will be cycle and the y-axis will be the weighted summation of the

pressure.

#### 2.2.2.2. Pick

Pick can do multiple-variable time curves.

Make

*Window 2*active, delete the plot, and make*Window 1*active again.Find and Highlight

*Pick*in the Query window and click*Do Time Query*to enable time-curve options.

Change the

*Variables*option to add*v*using the*Variables->Scalars*dropdown menu.Select

*Pick using domain and element Id*. Leave the defaults for*Node Id*and*Domain Id*as “0”.Select

*Preserve Picked Element Id*.Click

*Query*.

The result will be two curves in a single xy plot.

Make

*Window 2*active, delete the plot, and make*Window 1*active again.Change the

*Multiple-variable Time Curve options*to*Create Multiple Y-Axes plot*.Click

*Query*.

The result will be a Multi-curve plot (multiple axes) in

Window 2.

**NOTE:**Time Pick can also be performed via the mouse by first setting things up on the*Time Pick*tab in the Pick window (*Controls->Pick*).

### 2.2.3. Changing global options

Go to

*Controls->Query over time options*.This brings up the QueryOverTime window.

Here you can change the values displayed in the x-axis for all subsequent queries over time.

You can also change the window used to display time-curves. By default, the first un-used window becomes the time-curve window, and all subsequent time-curves are generated in the same window.

## 2.3. Built-in queries

VisIt provides a wide variety of built-in queries. See explanations of these here: Built-in queries

## 2.4. Expressions

Expressions in VisIt create new mesh variables from existing ones. These
are also known as *derived quantities*. VisIt’s expression system supports
only derived quantities that create a new mesh variable defined over the
*entire* mesh. Given a mesh on which a variable named *pressure* is defined,
an example of a very simple expression is “2*pressure”. On the other hand,
suppose one wanted to sum (or integrate) “pressure” over the entire mesh
(maybe the mesh represents some surface area over which a force calculation
is desired). Such an operation is not an expression in VisIt because it
does not result in a new variable defined over the entire mesh. In this
example, summing pressure over the entire mesh results in a single, scalar,
number, like “25.6”. Such an operation is supported instead by VisIt’s
Variable Sum Query. This tends to be true in general; Expressions define
whole mesh variables while Queries define single numerical values (there
are, however, some Queries for which this is not strictly true).

### 2.4.1. A simple algebraic expression, “2*radial”

Open up “noise2d.silo”.

Create a Pseudocolor plot of the variable

*radial*.

Take note of the legend range, “0…28.28”

Go to

*Controls->Expressions*.Click on

*New*in the bottom left.

This will create an expression and give it a default name, “unnamed1”.

Rename this expression by typing “radial2” into the

*Name*field

Take note of the

Typeof the variable. By default, VisIt assumes the type of the new variable you are creating is a s scalar mesh variable (e.g. a single numerical value for each node or zone/cell in the mesh). Here, we are indeed creating a scalar variable and so there is no need to adjust theType. However, in some of the examples that follow, we’ll be creating vector mesh variables and if we don’t specify the correct type, we’ll get an error message.

Place the cursor in the

*Definition*pane of the*Expressions*dialog.Type the number “2” followed by the C/C++ language symbol for multiplication, “*”.

Now, you can either type the name “radial” or you can go to the

*Insert Variable…*pulldown menu and find and select the*radial*variable there (see picture at right).

Click

*Apply*.Now, go to the main VisIt

*GUI*Panel to the*Variables*pulldown.

Note that

radial2now appears in the list of variables there.

Select

*radial2*from the pull down and click*Draw*.

Visually, the image will not look any different. But, if you take a close look at the legend you will see it is now showing “0…56.57”.

Visit supports several unary and binary algebraic expressions including
`+, -, /, \*, bitwise-^, bitwise-&, sqrt(), abs(), ciel(), floor(), ln(), log10(), exp()`

and more.

### 2.4.2. Accessing coordinates (of a mesh) in expressions

Here, we’ll use the category of *Mesh* expressions to access the coordinates
of a mesh, again, working with “noise2d.silo”.

Go to

*Controls->Expressions*.Click the

*New*button and name this expression “Coords”.Set the

*Type*to*Vector mesh variable*(because coordinates, at least in this 2D example, are a vector quantity).Put the cursor in the

*Definition*pane.Go to

*Insert Function…*and find the*Mesh*category of expressions and then, within it, find the*coord*function expression.

This should result in the insertion of “coord()” in the

Definitionpane and place the cursor between the two parenthesis characters.Note that in almost all cases, the category of

Meshexpressions expect one or more mesh variables as operands.

Now, go to

*Insert Variable…*pull down and then to the*Meshes*submenu and select*Mesh*.

This should result in

Meshbeing inserted between the parentheses in the definition.

Click

*Apply*.Now, we’ll define two scalar expressions for the “X” and “Y” coordinates of the mesh. While still in the Expressions window,

Click

New.Name the new expression “X”.

Note that VisIt’s expression system is case sensitive so “x” and “X” can be different variable names.

Leave the type as

Scalar mesh variableType into the definition pane, “Coords[0]”

This expression uses the array bracket dereference operator “[]” to specify a particular component of an array. In this case, the

arraybeing derefrenced is the vector variable defined by “Coords”.Note that VisIt’s expression system always numbers its array indices starting from zero.

Click

Apply.Now, repeat these steps to define a “Y” expression for the “Y” coordinates as “Coords[1]”.

Finally, we’ll define the “distance” expression

Click the

Newbutton.Give the new variable the name “Dist” (Type should be

Scalar mesh variable).Type in the definition “sqrt(X*X+Y*Y)”.

Click

Apply.

Now, we’ll use the new “Dist” variable we’ve just defined to display some data.

Delete any existing plots from the plot list.

Add a Pseudocolor plot of

*shepardglobal*.Add an Isovolume operator.

Although this example is a 2D example and so

volumedoesn’t seem to apply, VisIt’s Isovolume operator performs the equivalent operation for 2D data.

Bring up the Isovolume operator attributes (either expand the plot by clicking on the triangle to the left of its name in the plot list and double clicking on the Isovolume operator there or go to the

*OpAtts*menu and bring up Isovolume operator attributes that way).Set the variable to

*Dist*.Set the

*Lower bound*to “5” and the*Upper bound*to “7”.Click

*Apply*.Click

*Draw*.

You should get the picture below. In this picture, we are displaying a
Pseudocolor plot of *shepardglobal*, but Isovolumed by our *Dist* expression
in the range “[5…7]”.

This example also demonstrates the use of an expression *function*, *coord()*
to operate on a mesh and return its coordinates as a vector variable on the
mesh.

VisIt has a variety of expression functions that operate on a Mesh including
*area* (for 2D meshes), *volume* (for 3D meshes, *revolved_volume* (for
2D cylindrically symmetric meshes), *zonetype*, and more. In addition,
VisIt includes the entire suite of *Mesh quality* expressions from the
Verdict Library.

### 2.4.3. Creating vector and tensor valued variables from scalars

If the database contains scalar variables representing the individual
components of a vector or tensor, VisIt’s Expression system allows you
to construct the associated vector (or tensor). You create vectors in
VisIt’s Expression system using the curly bracket *vector compose*
“{}” operator. For example, using “noise2d.silo” again as an example,
suppose we want to compose a *Vector* valued expression that has
“shepardglobal” and “hardyglobal” as components. Here are the steps.

Go to

*Controls->Expressions*.Click the

*New*button and set*Name*to “randvec”.Be sure to also set the

*Type*to*Vector mesh variable*.Place the cursor in

*Definition*pane and type “{shepardglobal, hardyglobal}”.Click

*Apply*.Go to

*Plots->Vector*.

You should now see

randvecappear there as a variable name to plot.

Add the Vector plot of

*randvec*.

In the example above, we used the *vector compose* operator, “{}” to
create a vector variable from multiple scalar variables. We can do the
same to create a tensor variable. Recall from calculus that a rank 0 tensor
is a scalar, a rank 1 tensor is a vector and a rank 2 tensor is a matrix.
So, to create a tensor variable, we use multiple *vector compose* operators
nesting within another *vector compose* operator. Here, solely for the
purposes of illustration (e.g. this isn’t a physically meaningful tensor)
we’ll use the “X” and “Y” coordinate component scalars we defined earlier
together with the *shepardglobal* and *hardyglobal*.

Go to

*Controls->Expressions*.Click

*New*and set the*Name*to “tensor”.Be sure to also set the

*Type*to*Tensor mesh variable*.Place the cursor in

*Definition*pane and type “{ {shepardglobal, hardyglobal}, {X,Y} }”.

Note the two levels of curly braces. The outer level is the whole rank 2 tensor matrix and the inner curly braces are each row of the matrix.

Note that you could also have defined the same tensor expression using two vector expressions like so, “{randvec, Coords}”.

Click

*Apply*.Add a Tensor plot of

*tensor*variable.

### 2.4.4. Variable compatibility gotchas (tensor rank, centering, mesh)

VisIt will allow you to define expressions that it winds up determining to
be invalid later when it attempts to execute those expressions. Some common
issues are the mixing of incompatible mesh variables in the same expression
*without* the necessary additional functions to make them compatible.

#### 2.4.4.1. Tensor rank compatibility

For example, what happens if you mix scalar and vector mesh variables
(e.g. variables of different *Tensor rank*) in the same expression?
Again, using “noise2d.silo”.

Define the expression, “foo” as “grad+shepardglobal” with the

*Type**Vector mesh variable*.

Note that

gradis aVector mesh variableandshepardglobalis aScalar mesh variable.

Now, attempt to do a Vector plot of

*foo*. This works because VisIt will add the scalar to each component of the vector resulting a new vector mesh variableBut, suppose you instead defined

*foo*to be of*Type**Scalar mesh variable*.

VisIt will allow you to define this expression. But, when you go to plot it, the plot will fail.

As an aside, as you go back and forth between the Expressions window creating and/or adjusting expression definitions, VisIt makes no attempt to keep track of all the changes you’ve made in expressions and automatically update plots as expressions change. You will have to manually clear or delete plots to force VisIt to re-draw plots in which you’ve changed expressions.

In the above example, if on the other hand, you had set type of “foo”
to Scalar Mesh Variable, then VisIt would have failed to plot it because
it is adding a scalar and a vector variable and the result of such an
operation is *always* a *Vector mesh variable*. If what you really
intended was a scalar mesh variable, then use one of the expression
functions that converts a vector to a scalar (e.g. *magnitude()* function
or array dereference operator *[]*) to convert the *Vector mesh variable*
in your expression to a scalar mesh variable. So, “grad[i]+shephardglobal”
where “i” is “0” or “1” would work to define a scalar mesh variable.
Or, “magnitude(grad)+shepardglobal” would also have worked.

#### 2.4.4.2. Centering compatibility

In “noise2d.silo”, some variables are zone centered and some are node centered. What happens if you combine these in an expression? VisIt will default to zone centering for the result. If this is not the desired result, use the “recenter()” expression function, where appropriate, to adjust centering of some of the terms in your expression. For example, again using “noise2d.silo”.

Define the

*Scalar mesh variable*expression “bar” as “shepardglobal+airVf”.

For reference, in “noise2d.silo”, “shepardglobal” is node centered while “airVf” is zone centered.

Do a Pseudocolor plot of “bar”.

Note that “bar” displays as a zone centered quantity.

Now, go back to the expression and recenter “airVf” by adjusting the definition to “shepardglobal+recenter(airVf)”.

The

recenter()expression function is atogglein that it will take whatever the variable’s centering is and swap it (node->zone and zone->node).The

recenter()expression function also takes a second argument, a string of one of the valuestoggle,zonal,nodalto force a particular behavior.Note that when you click

Apply, the current plot of “bar” does not change. You need to manually delete and re-create the plot (or clear and re-draw the plots).

Finally, note that these two expressions…

“shepardglobal+recenter(airVf)”

“recenter(shepardglobal+airVf)”

both achieve a node-centered result. But, each expression is subtly (and numerically) different. The first recenter’s “airVf” to the nodes and then performs the summation operator at each node. In the second, there is an implied recentering of “shepardglobal” to the zones first. Then, the summation operator is applied at each zone center and finally the results are recentered back to the nodes. In all likelihood this results in a numerically lower quality result. The moral is that in a complex series of expressions be sure to take care where you want recentering to occur.

#### 2.4.4.3. Mesh compatibility

In many cases, especially in Silo databases, all the available variables in a database are not always defined on the same mesh. This can complicate matters involving expressions in variables from different meshes.

Just as in the previous two examples of incompatible variables where the
solution was to apply some functions to make the variables compatible,
we have to do the same thing when variables from different meshes are
combined in an expression. The key expression functions which enable this
are called *Cross Mesh Field Evaluation* or *CMFE* functions. We will only
briefly touch on these here. CMFEs will be discussed in much greater
detail in a tutorial devoted to that topic.

Again, using “noise2d.silo”

Define the expression “gorf” with definition “PointVar + shepardglobal”.

Note that

PointVaris defined on a mesh namedPointMeshwhileshepardglobalis defined on a mesh namedMesh.

Try to do a Pseudocolor plot of “gorfo”. You will get a plot of points and a warning message like this one…

The compute engine running on host somehost.com issued the following warning: In domain 0, your nodal variable “shepardglobal” has 2500 values, but it should have 100. Some values were removed to ensure VisIt runs smoothly.

So, whats happening here? VisIt is deciding to perform the summation
operation on the *PointVar*’s mesh. That mesh consists of 100 points. So,
when it encounters the *shepardglobal* variable (defined on *Mesh* with
50x50 nodes), it simply ignores any values in “shepardgloabl” after the
first 100. Most likely, this is not the desired outcome.

We have two options each of which involves *mapping* one of the variables
onto the other variable’s mesh using one of the CMFE expression functions.
We can map *shepardglobal* onto *PointMesh* or we can map *PointVar* onto
*Mesh*. We’ll do both here

#### 2.4.4.4. Mapping *shepardglobal* onto *PointMesh*

Define a new expression named “shepardglobal_mapped”.

Go to

*Insert Function…*, then to the*Comparisons*submenu and select*pos_cmfe*.

This defines a

position basedcross-mesh field evaluation function. The other option is aconn_cmfeorconnectivity-basedwhich is faster but requires both meshes to be topologically congruent and is not appropriate here.

A template for the arguments to the

*pos_cmfe*will appear in the*Definition*pane.Replace “<filename:var>” with “<./noise2d.silo:shepardglobal>”.

This assumes the “noise2d.silo” file is in the same directory from which VisIt was started.

This defines the

sourceordonorvariable to be mapped onto a new mesh.

Replace “<meshname>” with “PointMesh”.

This defines the

destinationortargetmesh the variable is to be mapped onto.

Replace “<fill-var-for-uncovered-regions>” with “-1”.

This is needed for position-based CMFE’s because the donor variable’s mesh and target mesh may not always volumetrically overlap 100%. In places where this winds up being the case, VisIt will use this value to fill in.

Now with “shepardglobal_mapped” defined, you can define the desired expression, “PointVar + shepardglobal_mapped” and this will achieve the desired result and is shown below.

#### 2.4.4.5. Mapping *PointVar* onto *Mesh*

To be completed. But, cannot map point mesh onto a volumetric mesh. VisIt always returns zero overlap.

### 2.4.5. Combining expressions and queries is powerful

Suppose you have a database generated by some application code simulating some object being blown apart. Maybe its a 2D, cylindrically symmetric calculation. Next, suppose the code produced a “density” and “velocity” variable. However, what you want to compute is the total mass of some (portion of) of the object that has velocity (magnitude) greater than some threshold, say 5 meters/second. You can use a combination of Expressions, Queries and the Threshold operator to achieve this.

Mass is “density * volume”. You have a 2D mesh, so how do you get volume
from something that has only 2 dimensions? You know the mesh represents
a calculation that is cylindrically symmetric (revolved around the y-axis).
You can use the *revolved_volume()* Expression function to obtain the
volume of each zone in the mesh. Then, you can multiply the result of
*revolved_volume()* by *density* to get mass of each zone in the mesh.
Once you have that, you can use threshold operator to display only those
zones with velocity (magnitude) greater than 5 and then a variable sum
query to add up all the mass moving at that velocity.

Here, we demonstrate the steps involved using the “noise2d.silo” database.
Because that database does not quite match the problem assumption described
in the preceding paragraphs, we simply re-purpose a few of the variables
in the database to serve as our *density* and *velocity* variables in
this example. Namely, we define the expression *density* as an alias for
*shephardglobal* and *velocity* as an alias for *grad*.

Here are the steps involved…

Go to

*Controls->Expressions*.Click

*New*.Set the

*Name*to “density”.Make sure the

*Type*is set to*Scalar mesh variable*.Set the

*Definition*to “shepardglobal”.Click

*Apply*.Click

*New*.Set the

*Name*to “velocity”.Make sure the

*Type*is set to*Vector mesh variable*.Set the

*Definition*to “grad”.Click

*Apply*.Click

*New*.Set the

*Name*to “mass”.Make sure the

*Type*is set to*Scalar mesh variable*.Set the

*Definition*to “revolved_volume(Mesh) * density”.Click

*Apply*.Click the

*New*button again (for a new expression).Set the

*Name*to “velmag” (for velocity magnitude).Set the

*Definition*to “magnitude(velocity)”.Go to

*Plot->Pseudocolor->mass*.Click

*Draw*.

Add

*Operator->Threshold*.Open the Threshold operator attributes window.

Select the

*default*variable and then click*Delete selected variable*.Go to

*Add Variable*and select*velmag*from the list of*Scalars*.Set

*Lower Bound*to “5”.Click

*Apply*.

Now the displayed plot changes to show only those parts of the mesh that are moving with velocity greater than 5.

Go to

*Controls->Query*.Find the

*Variable sum query*from the list of queries.Click the

*Query*button. The computed result will be a sum of all the individual zones’ masses in the mesh for those zones that are moving with velocity greater than 5.

### 2.4.6. Automatic, saved and database expressions

VisIt defines several types of expressions automatically. For all vector
variables from a database, VisIt will automatically define the associated
magnitude expressions. For unstructured meshes, VisIt will automatically
define *mesh quality* expressions. For any databases consisting of
multiple time states, VisIt will define *time derivative* expressions.
This behavior can be controlled by going to VisIt’s *Preferences* dialog
and enabling or disabling various kinds of *automatic* expressions.

If you save settings, any expressions you have defined are also saved with the settings. And, they will appear (and sometimes pollute) your menus whether or not they are valid expressions for the currently active database.

Finally, databases are also free to define expressions. In fact, many
databases define a large number of expressions for the convenience of
their users who often use the expressions in their post-processing
workflows. Ordinarily, you never see VisIt’s automatic expressions or a
database’s expressions in the Expression window because they are not
editable. However, you can check the *display expressions from database*
check box in the Expressions window and VisIt will also show these expressions.