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MODELLING AND SIMULATION applications


Visualising the future


GEMMA CHURCH


EXAMINES THE DIFFERENT WAYS VISUALISATION IS USED TO IMPROVE EVERYTHING FROM COSMOLOGY TO CARDIOVASCULAR SURGERY


In today’s data-heavy world, visualisation is a vital tool to help engineers cut through the noise


and ‘see’ the results that matter. But big data is getting bigger and that’s


a problem for visualisation, as Jim Jeffers, senior director and senior principal engineer for Advanced Rendering and Visualisation at Intel Corporation, explains: ‘The challenge of "trying to understand what the data is telling you" continues to grow and will get even harder as we move to exascale. As the sheer size of the data increases, new techniques will be required to isolate what is really important.’ This is because, at exascale, the data


is so large that ‘you can’t readily move it on and off the compute nodes anymore, even with system memory and parallel file systems, as fast as they are,’ according to Jeffers. ‘So, in-situ visualisation, which is basically computing and visualising simultaneously in real time, will be a prevalent means to get to new discoveries and take best advantage of the awesome computational capability of this new generation of supercomputers.’ Over the past five years, Intel has


worked with The Stephen Hawking Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge on a range of projects, exploring how the universe formed and continues to change, and the gravitational impact on space-time. Intel has also worked with the German weather service, DKRZ, on the impact of weather and climate on cloud and storm formation, and the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) to investigate the mechanisms of full-body blood flow, to name a few examples in the scientific space. ‘The challenges are sifting through the


@scwmagazine | www.scientific-computing.com


 Photography – surgical augmented intelligence, tomorrow’s technology for today’s surgery.


”Our optimisations provide the additional performance researchers need to run applications like HACC and make more accurate predictions about the distribution of billions of galaxies”


data and finding that gem, which is often not what you thought you were looking for,’ according to Jeffers. ‘In particular, with the late Stephen Hawking’s team, their use of Intel OSPRay, a component in the Intel oneAPI Rendering Toolkit, has shed significant light on the mysteries of gravitation in the universe, and they have found significant discoveries through visualisation that they didn’t expect, driving new areas of exploration towards a unified theory of "everything".’ For scientific visualisation, Intel


OSPRay’s ray tracing capability, included in tools like Kitware’s ParaView, Open Source VisIt, Visual Molecular Dynamics (VMD) and, recently, NCAR’s VaPOR has ‘changed the game for scientists', according to Jeffers. ‘We have gone beyond traditional


 FEVAR (Fenestrated Endovascular Aortic Repair) pre-operative map.


rasterisation to physically based and higher-fidelity rendering aligned with how the human visual system receives and processes light. ‘They are able to see nuances in the data because of the physically based mechanisms and the ability to shine a "light" on the data – and I literally mean turning on a light virtually, which you can do with ray tracing and look deeper at the data. The researchers and engineers we are working with are all saying ray tracing has become key to them fully understanding their data.’ Recently, Intel introduced a feature


called particle volume rendering, which uses the HACC (Hardware/Hybrid Accelerated Cosmology Code) for scientific simulations, and it plans to


Summer 2021 Scientific Computing World 35


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