AA Grid Demo 2003


The distributed volume renderer (dvr) software, available on the software page, is a tool for rendering large volumetric data sets using the combined memory and processing resources of Beowulf-style clusters.

In 2003, we have established a collaboration between the AstroGrid consortium and the
Melbourne site of Aus-VO which aims to develop the existing dvr software into a grid-based volume rendering service. The system is expected to be in "Demo" form in time for display at the July meeting of the IAU. Users will be able to select FITS-format cubes from a number of "Data Centres",have the data transferred to a chosen rendering cluster, and then proceed to visualise the volume of data remotely.

Other than the AstroGrid and Melbourne Aus-VO sites, we also have agreement in principle to use the storage and compute facilities of VPAC, APAC, and the Canberra branch of the CSIRO division of Mathematical and Information Sciences during the demonstration period at the IAU meeting.

Update - 2003 September

Our demonstration at the 2003 General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union was successful. We exhibited a system which allowed the user to

  • select a data centre from a list of providers,
  • select a FITS file from a list provided by that data centre, and
  • select a rendering cluster from a list of providers.

The demonstration system then transferred the FITS image from the data centre to the rendering centre, loaded it into the local, distributed processor volume rendering tree, and provided a Java applet which was displayed to the user in their browser and enabled them to interact with and control the display of the image.

There is no concrete plan for the long-term maintenance of the system. At this point it is viewed as an extremely valuable learning and collaborating exercise for the Australian Virtual Observatory and AstroGrid.

We thank all of the contributors to the project for the time, energy, expertise and resources they generously provided.