Hybrid Parallelism for Volume Rendering on Large, Multi-and Many-core Systems

Mark Howison, E. Wes Bethel, Hank Childs
Center for Computation and Visualization, Brown University, 94 Waterman Street, Providence, RI 02912, USA
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 17-29, 2012


   title={Hybrid Parallelism for Volume Rendering on Large, Multi-and Many-core Systems},

   author={Howison, M. and Bethel, E. and Childs, H.},

   journal={Visualization and Computer Graphics, IEEE Transactions on},






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With the computing industry trending towards multi- and many-core processors, we study how a standard visualization algorithm, ray-casting volume rendering, can benefit from a hybrid parallelism approach. Hybrid parallelism provides the best of both worlds: using distributed-memory parallelism across a large numbers of nodes increases available FLOPs and memory, while exploiting shared-memory parallelism among the cores within each node ensures that each node performs its portion of the larger calculation as efficiently as possible. We demonstrate results from weak and strong scaling studies, at levels of concurrency ranging up to 216,000, and with datasets as large as 12.2 trillion cells. The greatest benefit from hybrid parallelism lies in the communication portion of the algorithm, the dominant cost at higher levels of concurrency. We show that reducing the number of participants with a hybrid approach significantly improves performance.
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