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Phoenix, AZ

Oct. 19, 1997 to Oct. 19, 1997

ISBN: 0-8186-8265-5

pp: 95

Kwan-Liu Ma , Inst. for Comput. Applications in Sci. & Eng., NASA Langley Res. Center, Hampton, VA, USA

T.W. Crockett , Inst. for Comput. Applications in Sci. & Eng., NASA Langley Res. Center, Hampton, VA, USA

ABSTRACT

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/spl times/400 pixel image using 128 processors.

INDEX TERMS

rendering (computer graphics); scalable parallel cell projection volume rendering algorithm; three dimensional unstructured data; aerodynamics calculations; fast efficient parallel volume rendering algorithm; massively parallel distributed memory supercomputers; cell projection; maximum flexibility; data distribution; static load balancing; round robin distribution; data cells; spatial partitioning tree; image compositing step; memory consumption; communication cost; buffering messages; rendering calculations; IBM SP2; rendering rates; tetrahedral cells; pixel image; 3D unstructured data visualization

CITATION

Kwan-Liu Ma,
T.W. Crockett,
"A scalable parallel cell-projection volume rendering algorithm for three-dimensional unstructured data",

*PRS*, 1997, Parallel Rendering Symposium, Parallel Rendering Symposium 1997, pp. 95, doi:10.1109/PRS.1997.628300