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A scalable parallel cell-projection volume rendering algorithm for three-dimensional unstructured data

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2 Author(s)
Kwan-Liu Ma ; Inst. for Comput. Applications in Sci. & Eng., NASA Langley Res. Center, Hampton, VA, USA ; Crockett, T.W.

Visualizing three dimensional unstructured data from aerodynamics calculations is challenging because the associated meshes are typically large in size and irregular in both shape and resolution. The goal of this research is to develop a fast, efficient parallel volume rendering algorithm for massively parallel distributed memory supercomputers consisting of a large number of very powerful processors. We use cell projection instead of ray casting to provide maximum flexibility in the data distribution and rendering steps. Effective static load balancing is achieved with a round robin distribution of data cells among the processors. A spatial partitioning tree is used to guide the rendering, optimize the image compositing step, and reduce memory consumption. Communication cost is reduced by buffering messages and by overlapping communication with rendering calculations as much as possible. Tests on the IBM SP2 demonstrate that these strategies provide high rendering rates and good scalability. For a dataset containing half a million tetrahedral cells, we achieve two frames per second for a 400×400 pixel image using 128 processors

Published in:

Parallel Rendering, 1997. PRS 97. Proceedings. IEEE Symposium on

Date of Conference:

20-21 Oct 1997