Occasionally I do things that fall outside my main research interests. One of these things is a recent work with Lingyun Yu, Petra Isenberg, and Tobias Isenberg where we tried to develop intuitive computer algorithms for the interactive selection of particle clusters in 3D particle datasets. We were motivated in this effort by the problem of selecting clusters in N-body galaxy simulations but the algorithms we developed can be applied in other domains that deal with 3D particle datasets.
The main idea behind our methods is that the user draws a 2D lasso around the clusters of interest and then the algorithm uses the particle density to identify the regions of interest inside the 3D cone (more precisely, inside the frustum) defined by the lasso. For more details, check the paper and video. The paper will be presented at Visweek'12, taking place in Seattle.