NNVA: Neural Network Assisted Visual Analysis of Yeast Cell Polarization Simulation

Subhashis Hazarika, Haoyu Li, Ko Chih Wang, Han Wei Shen, Ching Shan Chou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Complex computational models are often designed to simulate real-world physical phenomena in many scientific disciplines. However, these simulation models tend to be computationally very expensive and involve a large number of simulation input parameters, which need to be analyzed and properly calibrated before the models can be applied for real scientific studies. We propose a visual analysis system to facilitate interactive exploratory analysis of high-dimensional input parameter space for a complex yeast cell polarization simulation. The proposed system can assist the computational biologists, who designed the simulation model, to visually calibrate the input parameters by modifying the parameter values and immediately visualizing the predicted simulation outcome without having the need to run the original expensive simulation for every instance. Our proposed visual analysis system is driven by a trained neural network-based surrogate model as the backend analysis framework. In this work, we demonstrate the advantage of using neural networks as surrogate models for visual analysis by incorporating some of the recent advances in the field of uncertainty quantification, interpretability and explainability of neural network-based models. We utilize the trained network to perform interactive parameter sensitivity analysis of the original simulation as well as recommend optimal parameter configurations using the activation maximization framework of neural networks. We also facilitate detail analysis of the trained network to extract useful insights about the simulation model, learned by the network, during the training process. We performed two case studies, and discovered multiple new parameter configurations, which can trigger high cell polarization results in the original simulation model. We evaluated our results by comparing with the original simulation model outcomes as well as the findings from previous parameter analysis performed by our experts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8805421
Pages (from-to)34-44
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan
Externally publishedYes


  • Computational biology
  • Neural networks
  • Parameter analysis
  • Surrogate modeling
  • Visual analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


Dive into the research topics of 'NNVA: Neural Network Assisted Visual Analysis of Yeast Cell Polarization Simulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this