An efficient and scalable parallel algorithm for out-of-core isosurface extraction and rendering

TitleAn efficient and scalable parallel algorithm for out-of-core isosurface extraction and rendering
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsWang Q, JaJa JF, Varshney A
JournalJournal of Parallel and Distributed Computing
Pagination592 - 603
Date Published2007/05//
ISBN Number0743-7315
KeywordsParallel isosurface extraction, scientific visualization

We consider the problem of isosurface extraction and rendering for large scale time-varying data. Such data sets have been appearing at an increasing rate especially from physics-based simulations, and can range in size from hundreds of gigabytes to tens of terabytes. Isosurface extraction and rendering is one of the most widely used visualization techniques to explore and analyze such data sets. A common strategy for isosurface extraction involves the determination of the so-called active cells followed by a triangulation of these cells based on linear interpolation, and ending with a rendering of the triangular mesh. We develop a new simple indexing scheme for out-of-core processing of large scale data sets, which enables the identification of the active cells extremely quickly, using more compact indexing structure and more effective bulk data movement than previous schemes. Moreover, our scheme leads to an efficient and scalable implementation on multiprocessor environments in which each processor has access to its own local disk. In particular, our parallel algorithm provably achieves load balancing across the processors independent of the isovalue, with almost no overhead in the total amount of work relative to the sequential algorithm. We conduct a large number of experimental tests on the University of Maryland Visualization Cluster using the Richtmyer–Meshkov instability data set, and obtain results that consistently validate the efficiency and the scalability of our algorithm.