The ASC visualization group is working in conjunction with several collaborators to provide a scalable, parallel rendering interface that supports portable visualization applications. We are working with teams from Stanford, Red Hat, Tungsten Graphics, IBM, HP and other DOE labs to develop an Open Source software stack that can be scaled to large parallel systems and provides a series of conceptual abstraction layers. The basic software stack is illustrated below:
basic software stack
Parallel applications may or may not sit on top of higher level toolkits such as VTK.
Other layers include:
Interaction with a NIF simulation on a PowerWall, rendered using VisIt via DMX and Chromium (movie)
The core technology components are packaged so that unmodified applications can use them without knowledge and see basic performance gains or added flexibility. "Aware" applications can also be written to exploit the parallel performance features of the various components.
Each of these components is being built as a separate project and as such they each provide a scalable interface that applications can be coded to. For example, a pure X11 application that does not need 3D rendering can use the scalable rendering hooks in DMX to render in a scalable fashion to a tiled display. However, all of these projects are being developed together with many developers serving on multiple projects. As a result, they are all designed to be interconnected to provide a consistent, fully functional parallel rendering API that can be easily ported to any new host system. The various subs-systems include mechanisms that allow hardware vendors to contribute as well while protecting their intellectual property via binary modules. Much of the core infrastructure software is available for immediate download via OpenSource channels such as SourceForge.
DMX Distributed X11 Server Providing a Single, Continuous Desktop Over Six XFree86 Servers
For more information, please contact Rebecca Springmeyer