GLVis is a lightweight OpenGL-based tool for accurate and flexible finite element visualization. It is based on MFEM, a finite element library developed at LLNL.

GLVis uses MFEM as a finite element “dictionary” to provide interactive visualizations of general finite element meshes and solutions, both in serial and in parallel. It encodes a large amount of parallel finite element domain-specific knowledge—e.g., it allows the user to view parallel meshes as one piece, but it also gives them the ability to isolate each component and observe it individually.

GLVis provides support for arbitrary high-order and NURBS meshes (NURBS allow more accurate geometric representation) and accepts multiple socket connections so that the user may have multiple fully-functional visualizations open at one time. It can also run a batch sequence, or a series of commands, which gives the user precise control over visualizations and enables them to easily generate animations.

Along with the MFEM software, GLVis is used in multiple projects at LLNL, including BLAST, a high-order finite element hydrodynamics research code that improves the accuracy of simulations and provides a viable path to extreme parallel computing and exascale architectures.