Authors: Subhashis Hazarika, Ayan Biswas, Han-Wei Shen
Abstract: Distributions are often used to model uncertainty in many scientific datasets. To preserve the correlation among the spatially sampled grid locations in the dataset, various standard multivariate distribution models have been proposed in visualization literature. These models treat each grid location as a univariate random variable which models the uncertainty at that location. Standard multivariate distributions (both parametric and nonparametric) assume that all the univariate marginals are of the same type/family of distribution. But in reality, different grid locations show different statistical behavior which may not be modeled best by the same type of distribution. In this paper, we propose a new multivariate uncertainty modeling strategy to address the needs of uncertainty modeling in scientific datasets. Our proposed method is based on a statistically sound multivariate technique called Copula, which makes it possible to separate the process of estimating the univariate marginals and the process of modeling dependency, unlike the standard multivariate distributions. The modeling flexibility offered by our proposed method makes it possible to design distribution fields which can have different types of distribution (Gaussian, Histogram, KDE etc.) at the grid locations, while maintaining the correlation structure at the same time. Depending on the results of various standard statistical tests, we can choose an optimal distribution representation at each location, resulting in a more cost efficient modeling without significantly sacrificing on the analysis quality. To demonstrate the efficacy of our proposed modeling strategy, we extract and visualize uncertain features like isocontours and vortices in various real world datasets. We also study various modeling criterion to help users in the task of univariate model selection.