Streaming model based volume ray casting implementation for Cell Broadband Engine

TitleStreaming model based volume ray casting implementation for Cell Broadband Engine
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsKim J, JaJa JF
JournalScientific Programming
Pagination173 - 184
Date Published2009/01/01/

Interactive high quality volume rendering is becoming increasingly more important as the amount of more complex volumetric data steadily grows. While a number of volumetric rendering techniques have been widely used, ray casting has been recognized as an effective approach for generating high quality visualization. However, for most users, the use of ray casting has been limited to datasets that are very small because of its high demands on computational power and memory bandwidth. However the recent introduction of the Cell Broadband Engine (Cell B.E.) processor, which consists of 9 heterogeneous cores designed to handle extremely demanding computations with large streams of data, provides an opportunity to put the ray casting into practical use. In this paper, we introduce an efficient parallel implementation of volume ray casting on the Cell B.E. The implementation is designed to take full advantage of the computational power and memory bandwidth of the Cell B.E. using an intricate orchestration of the ray casting computation on the available heterogeneous resources. Specifically, we introduce streaming model based schemes and techniques to efficiently implement acceleration techniques for ray casting on Cell B.E. In addition to ensuring effective SIMD utilization, our method provides two key benefits: there is no cost for empty space skipping and there is no memory bottleneck on moving volumetric data for processing. Our experimental results show that we can interactively render practical datasets on a single Cell B.E. processor.