Conference Report: EG VCBM 2014 Vienna (Austria)

In the spirit of better late than never, the Eurographics Workshop on Visual Computing for Biology and Medicine (VCBM) 2014 conference report, summarizing some personal highlights. At VCBM 2014, we tweeted a picture for every talk and then some, which was arguably a bit much, but still a lot of fun. The VCBM organization also posted a great recap using Storify at their website. Given the theme of the conference, almost every talk is relevant to our medical visualization interests, but I would like to briefly summarize only a couple of them here. The benefit of delaying so long in writing this is that there are a lot of videos online by now. I will try to let the videos speak a 1000 words where available instead of getting too verbose. Onwards to the highlights!

The venue was really amazing, VCBM was held in the Universitätscampus
Altes AKH, but not just in any old lecture hall, it was the former anatomical theatre of the AKH and still has the original marble slab that was used as a dissection table:

Hörsaal D at the AKH

Hörsaal D at the AKH

A day before the start of VCBM itself, the VCBM fachgruppe (working group) had a meeting with six interesting talks. This was followed by a social event, a guided tour of the Narrenturm. Built in 1874 to treat mental patients, it now serves as a museum for the Pathologic-Anatomical Collection. The Narrenturm features a huge collection of moulages. These are wax models of diseases made based on real patients and used in medical education, which is cool and slightly creepy at the same time. This tour was followed up by a delicious dinner at Unibräu for those who didn’t lose their appetite after what they had seen during the tour.

On Thursday, VCBM itself kicked off with an opening by Katja Bühler. After this we enjoyed a keynote by Anna Vilanova on the future of medical visualization. Anna presented medical visualization as a field that is between fields: computer graphics and medical imaging. She talked us through the past, present and future of medvis and  going from facilitating analysis of the known to unraveling the unknown using visualization. A memorable quote from her talk:

“If the brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn’t” – Lyall Watson

Thursday featured four interesting sessions on Multivariate Data Analysis, Segmentation and Uncertainty, Microscopy and Visual Analytics for Biology:

  • Multivariate Data Analysis:
  • Segmentation and Uncertainty:
    • Peter Faltin presented his work on “Extracting and Visualizing Uncertainties in
      Segmentations from 3D Medical Data” [3]. He introduces a new processing chain comprising a series of carefully selected and well-matched steps to
      determine and visualize a segmentation boundary. Additionally, a novel visualization method was presented, specifically designed to simultaneously provide information about 3D morphology, confidence and possible errors.
  • Microscopy:
  • Visual Analytics for Biology:
    • I really enjoyed the talk by Nicolas Swoboda on “Visual and Quantitative Analysis of Higher Order Arborization Overlaps for Neural Circuit Research” [5]. The overlaps they are reffering to, consist of two or more neurons and indicate a potential anatomical connection. They present a novel tool for potential connectivity exploration by providing for the first time the possibility to compute and visualize higher order arborization overlaps on the fly (for fruit fly brains, well played!) and to interactively explore this information in its spatial
      anatomical context and on a quantitative level. Slides of the talk are available here and this is the accompanying video:

In the evening we hiked up through the vineyards of Vienna to the main social event: dinner at the Waldgrill Cobenzl. The view on the vineyards and Vienna itself was really stunning. We enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner accompanied by Sturm. Sturm is grape juice that has just started fermenting and is only available for a limited time every year, so we were lucky VCBM was held in Vienna exactly during Sturm time. After dinner the winners of the Karl-Heinz Höhne Award for Medical Visualization were announced:

I would love to tell you who the winner’s were, but the official announcement has not been made yet ;), so I don’t dare… Congratulations to the award winnners nonetheless, you know who you are ^^.

On the second and last day of VCBM there were sessions on Volume Visualization, Image Registration and Data Reconstruction for Medical Interventions,  Visual Explanations and Display Techniques as a keynote by Nigel John entitled ‘Visual Computing in Healthcare – from the Research Lab into the Hospital”. In the keynote he presented several case studies and discussed some of the challenges
involved in deploying visual computing solutions in a hospital setting.

VCBM wrapped up with the awards ceremony. The best paper award went to:

The honorable mentions can be found here. Our congratlations to the authors! Ivan Viola closed the conference and announced the location for next year (this year by now ^^): VCBM 2015 will be held in Bangor (UK) and will from now on be an annual workshop instead of bi-annual (once every two years, not the twice every year-type). To conclude this summary, I’d really like to thank the organizers of this excellent workshop. Interesting talks, a beautiful location, good food, great people once again!


  • [1]: Robust Cardiac Function Assessment in 4D PC-MRI Data. Köhler, Benjamin; Preim, Uta; Gutberlet, Matthias; Fischbach, Katharina; Preim, Bernhard
  • [2]: The iCoCooN: Integration of Cobweb Charts with Parallel Coordinates for Visual Analysis of DCE-MRI Modeling Variations. Raidou, Renata; Breeuwer, Marcel; Vilanova, Anna
  • [3]: Extracting and Visualizing Uncertainties in Segmentations from 3D Medical Data. Faltin, Peter; Chaisaowong, Kraisorn; Kraus, Thomas; Merhof, Dorit
  • [4]: Interactive Labeling of Toponome Data. Oeltze-Jafra, Steffen; Pieper, Franz; Hillert, Reyk; Preim, Bernhard; Schubert, Walter
  • [5]: Visual and Quantitative Analysis of Higher Order Arborization Overlaps for Neural Circuit Research. Swoboda, Nicolas; Moosburner, Judith; Bruckner, Stefan; Yu, Jai Y.; Dickson, Barry J.; Bühler, Katja
  • [6]: Visibility-Driven Processing of Streaming Volume Data. Solteszova, Veronika; Birkeland, Åsmund; Viola, Ivan; Bruckner, Stefan
  • [7]: Towards Clinical Deployment of Automated Anatomical Regions-Of-Interest. Lindholm, Stefan; Forsberg, Daniel; Ynnerman, Anders; Knutsson, Hans; Andersson, Mats; Lundström, Claes
  • [8]: RegistrationShop: An Interactive 3D Medical Volume Registration System. Smit, Noeska; Klein Haneveld, Berend; Staring, Marius; Eisemann, Elmar; Botha, Charl; Vilanova, Anna
  • [9]: Survey of Labeling Techniques in Medical Visualizations. Oeltze-Jafra, Steffen; Preim, Bernhard

VCBM 2014 Vienna (Austria) – Call for papers and posters!

The “Call for Papers and Posters” for VCBM (AKA Eurographics Workshop on Visual Computing for Biology and Medicine) 2014 has been released! VCBM is an excellent venue for medical visualization work and this year it will be held in Vienna, Austria.

The deadline for full paper submission is June 19 and the posters need to be submitted by August 7. Don’t miss this opportunity to present your work at this excellent location and please take a look at this website for more details. In other news: did you know our website also features a conference calendar that you can add to your personal calendar?


Start submitting those papers and posters for VCBM 2014!

PhD Position in Medical Visualization available at VRVis in Vienna (Austria)

The second position mentioned in this post is still available! To reiterate, they are looking for an Early Stage Researcher in the EU Initial Training Network (ITN) Software for the use of Multi-Modality Images in External Radiotherapy (SUMMER).

They are looking for a motivated young scientist that would love to use medical visualization to aid in the development of cutting edge solutions for radiotherapy planning. The starting date is as soon as possible, but before January 1, 2013. If you are interested in this position, please check this page for more details or contact Katja Bühler ( via e-mail. If you’re currently attending MICCAI 2012, you could also arrange to meet her there via e-mail.

EuroVis 2012 Vienna Report

Here’s one for the ‘better late than never’-category: my EuroVis 2012 summary! I’ve kept my eye out for interesting medvis talks and will briefly summarize the ones I have seen here.

I arrived at the TechGate in Vienna just in time for the fast-forward session on Tuesday. This is such a great warm-up to get everyone excited for the rest of the conference and to catch a glimpse of the content of the talks. Everyone got 30 seconds to describe the topic of their talk and to lure the audience there. I had my first attempt at doing such a pitch as well and tried to sell my talk by describing it as a new and exciting visualization field called pelvis. This bought me the dubious nickname ‘Pelvis Lady’ for the rest of the conference.
The second day of the conference featured the Medical Visualization session, chaired by’s very own Charl Botha:
Reliable Adaptive Modelling of Vascular Structures with Non-Circular Cross-Sections

Reliable Adaptive Modelling of Vascular Structures with Non-Circular Cross-Sections

  • The second talk was given by Roy van Pelt from the Netherlands: ‘Visualization of 4D Blood-Flow Fields by Spatiotemporal Hierarchical Clustering‘. Using hierarchical clustering, level-of-detail can be selected intuitively while the important flow patterns are still visible. Performance of the algorithm was improved by introducing a coarse hierarchical clustering approach. The flow clusters were visualized using patharrows combined with illustrative anatomical context.
Visualization of 4D Blood-Flow Fields by Spatiotemporal Hierarchical Clustering

Visualization of 4D Blood-Flow Fields by Spatiotemporal Hierarchical Clustering

Employing 2D projections for fast visual exploration of large fiber tracking data

Employing 2D projections for fast visual exploration of large fiber tracking data

Biopsy Planner – Visual Analysis for Needle Pathway Planning in Deep Seated Brain Tumor Biopsy

I really enjoyed attending and presenting at this amazing conference. It’s a great opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful people and listen to interesting talks. It was my first time this year, but I really hope it won’t be the last. Next year, EuroVis 2013 will be held in Leipzig (Germany) from June the 17th until June the 21st, so mark those calendars!
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out the great write-ups by Robert Kosara of eagereyes fame:

Two Medical Visualisation Ph.D. Vacancies at VRVis in Vienna (Austria)

Katja Bühler’s group at VRVis in Vienna currently has two medical visualisation Ph.D. vacancies. They are looking for two highly motivated young scientists preferably from European Countries interested in medical visualization and in the development of cutting edge solutions for radiotherapy planning.

More details and the description for these jobs can be found here
The lucky person that gets the first position can start right away and the second position will be available from August onwards.