Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Swapna Gokhale; Zhijie Shi

Field of Study

Computer Science and Engineering


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Simulation and visualization are critical for the development of new systems and protocols in the area of computer networking. As real-world field testing is expensive and time-consuming, simulations are often preferred as they can be performed repeatedly and inexpensively while still reflecting the outcome of field tests to an extent. Visualizations of the simulation and field test results often follow to provide researchers with a vivid animation of the events, allowing for a much more intuitive understanding of the system than tediously reading through trace files. While there are currently a multitude of simulators and animators for land-based networks, few such tools exist for the emerging field of underwater networks, which differ significantly from land-based networks in that they are essentially 3D networks where the depths of the nodes are considered. An underwater simulator called Aqua-Sim had already been in development by the University of Connecticut’s Underwater Sensor Network (UWSN) Lab. However, an accompanying visualization tool was not yet available.

Thus, this thesis work developed Aqua-3D as a brand new animator specializing in the visualization of underwater networks. Written in a Linux environment with C++ and OpenGL, Aqua-3D is able to read trace files outputted by Aqua-Sim and animate the simulation in full 3D graphics. Network events are represented by animations that are intuitive and easy to recognize by the user. The tool also provides users with full control over the playback and speed of the animation, full control over the viewing camera, and selectable windows that display additional useful information about the simulation. The accuracy of Aqua-3D’s visualization has been verified by the UWSN Lab members through the use of test scenarios generated by Aqua-Sim and the use of trace files from real-world field tests. It can be concluded that the current version of Aqua-3D is a robust tool, with the ability to correctly visualize trace files of underwater network simulations as well as provide a number of additional useful features. While further improvements and modifications are necessary and new features may be required before it can become a truly powerful and respected research tool, the Aqua-3D software can serve as the necessary milestone.

Major Advisor

Jun-Hong Cui