POVray, beowulf, etc.

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Fri Oct 17 14:05:49 EDT 2003

I'm aware of some MPI-aware POVray stuff, but is there anything out there 
that can facilitate something where you want to render a sequence of frames 
(using, e.g., POVray), one frame to a processor, then gather the images 
back to a head node for display, in quasi-real time.

For instance, say you had a image that takes 1 second to render, and you 
had 30 processors free to do the rendering.  Assuming you set everything up 
ahead of time, it should be possible to set all the processors spinning, 
and feeding the rendered images back to a central point where they can be 
displayed as an animation at 30 fps (with a latency of 1 second)

Obviously, the other approach is to have each processor render a part of 
the image, and assemble them all, but it seems that this might actually be 
slower overall, because you've got the image assembling time added.

I'm looking for a way to do some real-time visualization of modeling 
results as opposed to a batch oriented "render farm", so it's the pipeline 
to gather the rendered images from the nodes to the display node that I'm 
interested in. I suppose one could write a little MPI program that gathers 
the images up as bitmaps and feeds them to a window, but, if someone has 
already solved this in a reasonably facile and elegant way, why not use it.

James Lux, P.E.
Spacecraft Telecommunications Section
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mail Stop 161-213
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
tel: (818)354-2075
fax: (818)393-6875

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