Out-of-core sort-first parallel rendering for cluster-based tiled displays

Wagner T. Corrêa, James T. Klosowski, Cláudio T. Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a sort-first parallel system for out-of-core rendering of large models on cluster-based tiled displays. The system renders high-resolution images of large models at interactive frame rates using off-the-shelf PCs with small memory. Given a model, we use an out-of-core preprocessing algorithm to build an on-disk hierarchical representation for the model. At run time, each PC renders the image for a display tile, using an out-of-core rendering approach that employs multiple threads to overlap rendering, visibility computation, and disk operations. The system can operate in approximate mode for real-time rendering, or in conservative mode for rendering with guaranteed accuracy. Running our system in approximate mode on a cluster of 16 PCs each with 512 MB of main memory, we are able to render 12-megapixel images of a 13-million-triangle model with 99.3% of accuracy at 10.8 frames per second. Rendering such a large model at high resolutions and interactive frame rates would typically require expensive high-end graphics hardware. Our results show that a cluster of inexpensive PCs is an attractive alternative to those high-end systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-338
Number of pages14
JournalParallel Computing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2003


  • Cluster of PCs
  • Out-of-core rendering
  • Parallel rendering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Artificial Intelligence


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