Volume Visualization and Compositing on Large-Scale Displays Using Handheld Touchscreen Interaction
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AbstractAdvances in the physical sciences have progressively delivered ever increasing, already extremely large data sets to be analyzed. High performance volume rendering has become critical to the scientists for a better understanding of the massive amounts of data to be visualized. Cluster based rendering systems have become the base line to achieve the power and flexibility required to perform such task. Furthermore, display arrays have become the most suitable solution to display these data sets at their natural size and resolution which can be critical for human perception and evaluation. The work in this thesis aims at improving the scalability and usability of volume rendering systems that target visualization on display arrays. The first part deals with improving the performance by introducing the implementations of two parallel compositing algorithms for volume rendering: direct send and binary swap. The High quality Volume Rendering (HVR) framework has been extended to accommodate parallel compositing where previously only serial compositing was possible. The preliminary results show improvements in the compositing times for direct send even for a small number of processors. Unfortunately, the results of binary swap exhibit a negative behavior. This is due to the naive use of the graphics hardware blending mechanism. The expensive transfers account for the lengthy compositing times. The second part targets the development of scalable and intuitive interaction mechanisms. It introduces the development of a new client application for multitouch tablet devices, like the Apple iPad. The main goal is to provide the HVR framework, that has been extended to use tiled displays, a more intuitive and portable interaction mechanism that can get advantage of the new environment. The previous client is a PC application for the typical desktop settings that use a mouse and keyboard as sources of interaction. The current implementation of the client lets the user steer and change the opacity transfer function of the visualization via simple multitouch gestures. Nonetheless, the user can freely move around, engage into discussion with other users and easily pass the tablet around for others to use. Before, this was not possible with the same ease of use. Ultimately, the collaborative possibilities are many and extremely interesting to explore.