Interactive direct volume rendering on desktop multicore processors

TitleInteractive direct volume rendering on desktop multicore processors
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsWang Q, JaJa JF
JournalConcurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience
Pagination2199 - 2212
Date Published2009/09/10/
ISBN Number1532-0634
Keywordsdirect volume rendering, multicore processors, multithreaded algorithms, Parallel algorithms, volume visualization

We present a new multithreaded implementation for the computationally demanding direct volume rendering (DVR) of volumetric data sets on desktop multicore processors using ray casting. The new implementation achieves interactive rendering of very large volumes, even on high resolution screens. Our implementation is based on a new algorithm that combines an object-order traversal of the volumetric data followed by a focused ray casting. Using a very compact data structure, our method starts with a quick association of data subcubes with fine-grain screen tiles appearing along the viewing direction in front-to-back order. The next stage uses very limited ray casting on the generated sets of subcubes while skipping empty or transparent space and applying early ray termination in an effective way. Our multithreaded implementation makes use of new dynamic techniques to ensure effective memory management and load balancing. Our software enables a user to interactively explore large data sets through DVR while arbitrarily specifying a 2D transfer function. We test our system on a wide variety of well-known volumetric data sets on a two-processor Clovertown platform, each consisting of a Quad-Core 1.86 GHz Intel Xeon Processor. Our experimental tests demonstrate DVR at interactive rates for the largest data sets that can fit in the main memory on our platform. These tests also indicate a high degree of scalability, excellent load balancing, and efficient memory management across the data sets used. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.