Parallel volume visualization on workstations

Kwan-Liu Ma, James S. Painter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This paper discusses the use of general-purpose graphics workstations for interactive high-resolution volume visualization. We survey previous research results in parallel volume rendering as well as commercial products that take advantage of parallel processing to make volume rendering a practical visualization method. Our focus is on developing distributed computation methods that can distribute the memory and computational demands of volume visualization across a network of general purpose workstations. We describe three distributed computation strategies based on ray-casting volume rendering that can be implemented on either shared-memory multiprocessor workstations or on a network of ordinary workstations. Multiple views of real-time feature extraction give tremendous insight to the volume data. Multiple variable visualization helps scientists to capture the interaction between important variables in a simulation. Divide-and-conquer rendering allows interactive high-resolution volume visualization of large data sets on a network of midrange workstations, even when the data set is too large for available memory on any single workstation. Several examples in medical imaging and computational fluid dynamics are shown illustrating the practicality of these methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalComputers and Graphics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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