Anybody who has ever worked with interactive three-dimensional visualization computer applications knows how effective such techniques are for data analysis. Unfortunately these applications are usually expensive and require dedicated graphics work stations that are beyond the reach of most academic institutions. However, new programs that can be run on Pentium systems are bringing high-end three-dimensional graphics solutions to a broad audience [see e.g., Flohr, 1996].
Two major factors are contributing to this development. First, technical improvements in graphics boards and drivers make highend, three-dimensional graphics performance possible on low-cost systems. Second, major improvements are being made in developing standard three-dimensional graphics languages (for example, OpenGL and Direct3D). These developments allow rapid and effective development of three-dimensional graphics applications tailored to specific customer needs.
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