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GPU-Based Volume Rendering of Noisy Multi-Spectral Astronomical Data

Amr H. Hassan, Christopher J. Fluke, David G. Barnes
Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia
arXiv:1001.2049 [astro-ph.IM] (13 Jan 2010)

@article{hassan2010gpu,

   title={GPU-Based Volume Rendering of Noisy Multi-Spectral Astronomical Data},

   author={Hassan, A.H. and Fluke, C.J. and Barnes, D.G.},

   journal={Arxiv preprint arXiv:1001.2049},

   year={2010}

}

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Traditional analysis techniques may not be sufficient for astronomers to make the best use of the data sets that current and future instruments, such as the Square Kilometre Array and its Pathfinders, will produce. By utilizing the incredible pattern-recognition ability of the human mind, scientific visualization provides an excellent opportunity for astronomers to gain valuable new insight and understanding of their data, particularly when used interactively in 3D. The goal of our work is to establish the feasibility of a real-time 3D monitoring system for data going into the Australian SKA Pathfinder archive. Based on CUDA, an increasingly popular development tool, our work utilizes the massively parallel architecture of modern graphics processing units (GPUs) to provide astronomers with an interactive 3D volume rendering for multi-spectral data sets. Unlike other approaches, we are targeting real time interactive visualization of datasets larger than GPU memory while giving special attention to data with low signal to noise ratio – two critical aspects for astronomy that are missing from most existing scientific visualization software packages. Our framework enables the astronomer to interact with the geometrical representation of the data, and to control the volume rendering process to generate a better representation of their datasets.
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