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The authors provide a detailed analysis of the memory-hierarchy effects in shared-memory architectures of one method of volume rendering-ray casting. They studied two parallel-partitioning and dynamic load-balancing algorithms-one object partition and one image partition-exploring trade-offs between their memory-hierarchy performance and the algorithmic optimizations they allow. Their resulting implementations (along with careful tuning of the ray-advancement kernel for Silicon Graphics' R8000) yield extremely high performance. For a 1-Gbyte female human-body data set, they attain an average frame rate of 1.0 frame per second, at a resolution of 400 pixels x 300 pixels, on a 16-processor Silicon Graphics Power Challenge. This is faster than the literature has previously reported for a data set this large. They have also extended their methods to a cluster of such machines. Using eight Silicon Graphics Power Challenge machines with a total of 64 processors, they attain average frame rates up to 10 frames per second on a 357-Mbyte male human-body data set for a sequence of frames generated by interactive user control.

M. E. Palmer, B. Totty and S. Taylor, "Ray Casting on Shared-Memory Architectures: Memory-Hierarchy Considerations in Volume Rendering," in IEEE Concurrency (out of print), vol. 6, no. , pp. 20-35, 1998.
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