Publications / Conference

Scalable rendering on PC clusters

Wylie, Brian N.; Lewis, Vasily L.; Shirley, David N.; Pavlakos, Constantine P.

This case study presents initial results from research targeted at the development of cost-effective scalable visualization and rendering technologies. The implementations of two 3D graphics libraries based on the popular sort-last and sort-middle parallel rendering techniques are discussed. An important goal of these implementations is to provide scalable rendering capability for extremely large datasets (>> 5 million polygons). Applications can use these libraries for either run-time visualization, by linking to an existing parallel simulation, or for traditional post-processing by linking to an interactive display program. The use of parallel, hardware-accelerated rendering on commodity hardware is leveraged to achieve high performance. Current performance results show that, using current hardware (a small 16-node cluster), they can utilize up to 85% of the aggregate graphics performance and achieve rendering rates in excess of 20 million polygons/second using OpenGL{reg_sign} with lighting, Gouraud shading, and individually specified triangles (not t-stripped).