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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Harware-Assisted Scalable Solution for Interactive Volume Rendering of Time-Varying Data


We present a scalable volume rendering technique that exploits lossy compression and low-cost commodity hardware to permit highly interactive exploration of time-varying scalar volume data. A palette-based decoding technique and an adaptive bit allocation scheme are developed to fully utilize the texturing capability of a commodity 3-D graphics card. Using a single PC equipped with a modest amount of memory, a texture capable graphics card, and an inexpensive disk array, we are able to render hundreds of time steps of regularly gridded volume data (up to 42 millions voxels each time step) at interactive rates. By clustering multiple PCs together we demonstrate the data-size scalability of our method. The frame rates achieved make possible the interactive exploration of data in the temporal,spatial, and transfer function domains. A comprehensive evaluation of our method based on experimental studies using data sets (up to 134 millions voxels per time step) from turbulence flow simulations is also presented. Keywords--Compression, disk I/O, high performance computing, out-ofcore processing, parallel rendering, PC, scalable algorithms, scientific visualization, texture hardware, time-varying data, transform encoding, volume rendering

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