COTS cluster-based sort-last rendering: performance evaluation and pipelined implementation

Xavier Cavin, Christophe Mion, Alain Filbois
Inria Lorraine
IEEE Visualization, 2005. VIS 05


   title={Cots cluster-based sort-last rendering: Performance evaluation and pipelined implementation},

   author={Cavin, X. and Mion, C. and Filbois, A.},

   journal={IEEE Visualization},



   publisher={IEEE Computer Society}


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Sort-last parallel rendering is an efficient technique to visualize huge datasets on COTS clusters. The dataset is subdivided and distributed across the cluster nodes. For every frame, each node renders a full resolution image of its data using its local GPU, and the images are composited together using a parallel image compositing algorithm. In this paper, we present a performance evaluation of standard sort-last parallel rendering methods and of the different improvements proposed in the literature. This evaluation is based on a detailed analysis of the different hardware and software components. We present a new implementation of sort-last rendering that fully overlaps CPU(s), GPU and network usage all along the algorithm. We present experiments on a 3 years old 32-node PC cluster and on a 1.5 years old 5-node PC cluster, both with Gigabit interconnect, showing volume rendering at respectively 13 and 31 frames per second and polygon rendering at respectively 8 and 17 frames per second on a 1024 x 768 render area, and we show that our implementation outperforms or equals many other implementations and specialized visualization clusters.
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