GPU Accelerated Particle Visualization with Splotch

Marzia Rivi, Claudio Gheller, Mel Krokos, Klaus Dolag, Martin Reinecke
Department of Physics, University of Oxford, OX1 3RH, United Kingdom
arXiv:1309.1114 [astro-ph.IM], (4 Sep 2013)


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

   title={"{GPU Accelerated Particle Visualization with Splotch}"},

   journal={ArXiv e-prints},




   keywords={Astrophysics – Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics, Computer Science – Distributed, Parallel, and Cluster Computing},




   adsnote={Provided by the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System}


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Splotch is a rendering algorithm for exploration and visual discovery in particle-based datasets coming from astronomical observations or numerical simulations. The strengths of the approach are production of high quality imagery and support for very large-scale datasets through an effective mix of the OpenMP and MPI parallel programming paradigms. This article reports our experiences in re-designing Splotch for exploiting emerging HPC architectures nowadays increasingly populated with GPUs. A performance model is introduced for data transfers, computations and memory access, to guide our re-factoring of Splotch. A number of parallelization issues are discussed, in particular relating to race conditions and workload balancing, towards achieving optimal performances. Our implementation was accomplished by using the CUDA programming paradigm. Our strategy is founded on novel schemes achieving optimized data organisation and classification of particles. We deploy a reference simulation to present performance results on acceleration gains and scalability. We finally outline our vision for future work developments including possibilities for further optimisations and exploitation of emerging technologies.
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