Using a supercomputer as a graphics workstation

Argonne scientists are speeding up visualization of huge data sets with software-based parallel volume rendering

If you generate quadrillions of data points in a simulation study, looking at the data by rendering it on your workstation can be problematic: It takes days to rotate the image by one degree.

To speed up the process, scientists at Argonne National Laboratory are exploring software-based parallel volume rendering performed on the 160,000-core Blue Gene/P supercomputer. They've scaled up to problem sizes of over 80 billion voxels per time step and generated images up to 16 megapixels. There's more information about the project on Argonne's news site.

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The image below shows the rendering of a simulated core-collapse supernova created with this technique.


View a larger image.