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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Real-Time Out-of-Core Visualization of Particle Traces


Visualization of particle traces provides intuitive and efficient means for the exploration and analysis of complex vector fields. This paper presents a method suitable for the real-time visualization of arbitrarily large time-varying vector fields in virtual environments. We describe an out-of-core scheme in which two distinct pre-processing and rendering components enable real-time data streaming and visualization. The presented approach yields low-latency application start-up times and small memory footprints. The described system was used to implement a ''volumetric fog lance,'' which can emit up to 60000 particles into a flow field while maintaining an interactive frame rate of 60 frames per second. All algorithms were specifically designed to support commodity hardware. The proof-of-concept system is running on a low-cost Linux workstation equipped with a 120GB-E-IDE RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disk) system.

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