A hardware-assisted scalable solution for interactive volume rendering of time-varying data

Eric B. Lum, Kwan-Liu Ma, John Clyne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


We present a scalable volume rendering technique that exploits lossy compression and low-cost commodity hardware to permit highly interactive exploration of time-varying scalar volume data. A palette-based decoding technique and an adaptive bit allocation scheme are developed to fully utilize the texturing capability of a commodity 3D graphics card. Using a single PC equipped with a modest amount of memory, a texture capable graphics card, and an inexpensive disk array, we are able to render hundreds of time steps of regularly gridded volume data (up to 42 million voxels each time step) at interactive rates. By clustering multiple PCs together, we demonstrate the data-size scalability of our method. The frame rates achieved make possible the interactive exploration of data in the temporal, spatial, and transfer function domains. A comprehensive evaluation of our method based on experimental studies using data sets (up to 134 million voxels per time step) from turbulence flow simulations is also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-301
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2002


  • Compression
  • Disk I/O
  • High performance computing
  • Out-of-core processing
  • Parallel rendering
  • PC
  • Scalable algorithms
  • Scientific visualization
  • Texture hardware
  • Time-varying data
  • Transform encoding
  • Volume rendering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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