Cube-4 - A Scalable Architecture for Real-Time Volume Rendering

Cube-4 - A Scalable Architecture for Real-Time Volume Rendering

H. Pfister and A. Kaufman.

(Symposium on Volume Visualization, 1996.)

We present Cube-4, a special-purpose volume rendering architecture that is capable of rendering high-resolution (e.g., 10243) datasets at 30 frames per second. The underlying algorithm, called slice-parallel ray-casting, uses tri-linear interpolation of samples between data slices for parallel and perspective projections. The architecture uses a distributed interleaved memory, several parallel processing pipelines, and an innovative parallel data flow scheme that requires no global communication, except at the pixel level. This leads to local, fixed bandwidth interconnections and has the benefits of high memory bandwidth, real-time data input, modularity, and scalability. We have simulated the architecture and have implemented a working prototype of the complete hardware on a configurable custom hardware machine. Our results indicate true real-time performance for high-resolution datasets and linear scalability of performance with the number of processing pipelines