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This paper presents the first volume visualization system that scales to petascale volumes imaged as a continuous stream of high-resolution electron microscopy images. Our architecture scales to dense, anisotropic petascale volumes because it: (1) decouples construction of the 3D multi-resolution representation required for visualization from data acquisition, and (2) decouples sample access time during ray-casting from the size of the multi-resolution hierarchy. Our system is designed around a scalable multi-resolution virtual memory architecture that handles missing data naturally, does not pre-compute any 3D multi-resolution representation such as an octree, and can accept a constant stream of 2D image tiles from the microscopes. A novelty of our system design is that it is visualization-driven: we restrict most computations to the visible volume data. Leveraging the virtual memory architecture, missing data are detected during volume ray-casting as cache misses, which are propagated backwards for on-demand out-of-core processing. 3D blocks of volume data are only constructed from 2D microscope image tiles when they have actually been accessed during ray-casting. We extensively evaluate our system design choices with respect to scalability and performance, compare to previous best-of-breed systems, and illustrate the effectiveness of our system for real microscopy data from neuroscience.
virtual storage, data acquisition, data visualisation, electron microscopes, microscopy, neuroscience, interactive volume exploration, petascale microscopy data streams, visualization-driven virtual memory, volume visualization system, petascale volumes, continuous stream, high resolution electron microscopy image, anisotropic petascale volume, decouples construction, 3D multiresolution representation, data acquisition, multiresolution hierarchy, multiresolution virtual memory architecture, octree, microscopes, visible volume data, volume ray casting, cache misses, 3D blocks, 2D microscope image tiles, ray-casting, system design, best-of-breed system, real microscopy data, Data visualization, Neuroscience, Image resolution, Microscopy, Graphics processing unit, Octrees, Rendering (computer graphics), neuroscience, Petascale volume exploration, high-resolution microscopy, high-throughput imaging

M. Hadwiger, J. Beyer, Won-Ki Jeong and H. Pfister, "Interactive Volume Exploration of Petascale Microscopy Data Streams Using a Visualization-Driven Virtual Memory Approach," in IEEE Transactions on Visualization & Computer Graphics, vol. 18, no. , pp. 2285-2294, 2012.
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