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High-performance astrophysical visualization using Splotch

Zhefan Jin, Mel Krokos, Marzia Rivi, Claudio Gheller, Klaus Dolag, Martin Reinecke
School of Creative Technologies, University of Portsmouth, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth, United Kingdom
arXiv:1004.1302 [astro-ph.IM] (8 Apr 2010)

@article{jin2010high,

   title={High-performance astrophysical visualization using Splotch},

   author={Jin, Z. and Krokos, M. and Rivi, M. and Gheller, C. and Dolag, K. and Reinecke, M.},

   journal={Procedia Computer Science},

   volume={1},

   number={1},

   pages={1769–1778},

   issn={1877-0509},

   year={2010},

   publisher={Elsevier}

}

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The scientific community is presently witnessing an unprecedented growth in the quality and quantity of data sets coming from simulations and real-world experiments. To access effectively and extract the scientific content of such large-scale data sets (often sizes are measured in hundreds or even millions of Gigabytes) appropriate tools are needed. Visual data exploration and discovery is a robust approach for rapidly and intuitively inspecting large-scale data sets, e.g. for identifying new features and patterns or isolating small regions of interest within which to apply time-consuming algorithms. This paper presents a high performance parallelized implementation of Splotch, our previously developed visual data exploration and discovery algorithm for large-scale astrophysical data sets coming from particle-based simulations. Splotch has been improved in order to exploit modern massively parallel architectures, e.g. multicore CPUs and CUDA-enabled GPUs. We present performance and scalability benchmarks on a number of test cases, demonstrating the ability of our high performance parallelized Splotch to handle efficiently large-scale data sets, such as the outputs of the Millennium II simulation, the largest cosmological simulation ever performed.
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