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Distributed Virtual Reality Experiments

In art, science and industry communities alike, there is a rapidly growing need for 3D visualization. Three-dimensional simulations make it possible to test future products, or to investigate otherwise unreachable environments. At KTH, the Stockholm Exhibition of 1930 has been modeled as an educational exercise in the architecture department. At NCSA, a CAVE is used by George Francis to teach mathematics. Virtual Reality (VR) can be also be used in city planning, giving the opportunity to walk around in a city that has not yet been built.

A number of projects that use the Center for Parallel Computers (PDC) Cube - a fully immersive visualization environment that displays images on all surrounding surfaces, including the floor and the ceilinghave been initiated. These include science-oriented applications (e.g. analysis of glacier flows, volume rendering of biological data, flows in a jet engine, and visualization of computational fluid dynamics), and applications from other fields, such as architecture. Part of its design philosophy is to integrate new resources into an existing infrastructure. At PDC there are no stand-alone systems, but rather a collection of various integrated systems that improve over time. User accounts, file systems, storage facilities, and security systems have been distributed among the different computing resources for several years. The Cube is integrated in the same way and is therefore directly accessible to any PDC user with a suitable project.

The PDC bulk data transfer network is HiPPI-800 between most of the larger systems, including the SGI Onyx2 driving the Cube. Apart from HiPPI, internal networking topology consists of a mixture of 100Mb FDDI and FastEthernet. External connections are excellent, since PDC is directly connected by fiber to KTHNOC, where the main interconnect for both SUNET (Swedish University Network) and NORDUnet (Nordic University Network) is located. Even apart from academic networks, KTHNOC is one of the largest interconnects on the Internet today.


Johan Ihren
Parallel Computing Center (PDC) Royal Institute of Technology (RIT)


Parallel Computing Center (PDC) Royal Institute of Technology (RIT)

NCSA / University of Illinois, University of Utah, University of Houston

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