Volume rendering dark matter simulations using cell projection and order-independent transparency

Oleg Igouchkine, Nick Leaf, Kwan-Liu Ma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Dark matter simulations, performed using N-body methods with a finite set of tracer particles to discretize the initially uniform distribution of mass, are an invaluable method for exploring the formation of the universe. Definining a tetrahedral mesh in phase space-with the tracer particles at initialization serving as vertices-yields a more accurate density field. At later timesteps, the mesh self-intersects to an enormous degree, making pre-sorting impossible. Kaehler et al [2012] visualize the mesh using cell projection, but their method requires order-independent compositing, which limits its flexibility. Our work renders the mesh using state of the art order-independent transparency (OIT) techniques to composite fragments in correct depth order. This also allows us to render variables other than density, such as velocity. We implement a number of OIT optimizations to handle the high depth complexity (on the order of 107 depth layers for 2×109 particles) of the data. Our performance measurements show near-interactive framerates for our hybrid renderer despite the large number of depth layers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSA 2016 - SIGGRAPH ASIA 2016 Symposium on Visualization
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN (Electronic)9781450345477
StatePublished - Nov 28 2016
Event2016 SIGGRAPH ASIA Symposium on Visualization, SA 2016 - Macau, China
Duration: Dec 5 2016Dec 8 2016


Other2016 SIGGRAPH ASIA Symposium on Visualization, SA 2016


  • GPU acceleration
  • Intersecting mesh
  • Order-independent transparency
  • Scientific visualization
  • Volume rendering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


Dive into the research topics of 'Volume rendering dark matter simulations using cell projection and order-independent transparency'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this