Cube-4 - Implementations on the Teramac Custom Computing Machine

Cube-4 - Implementations on the Teramac Custom Computing Machine

U. Kanus, M. Meissner, W. Strasser, H. Pfister, A. Kaufman, R. Amerson, R. Carter, B. Culbertson, P. Kuekes, and G. Snider.

(Proceedings of the Eleventh Eurographics conference on Graphics Hardware, 1996.)

We present two implementations of the Cube-4 volume rendering architecture on the Teramac custom computing machine. Cube-4 uses a sliceparallel ray-casting algorithm that allows for a parallel and pipelined implementation of ray-casting with tri-linear interpolation and surface normal estimation from interpolated samples. Shading, classification and compositing are part of rendering pipeline. With the partitioning schemes introduced in this paper, Cube-4 is capable of rendering large datasets with a limited number of pipelines. The Teramac hardware simulator at the Hewlett-Packard research laboratories, Palo Alto, CA, on which Cube-4 was implemented, belongs to the new class of custom computing machines. Teramac combines the speed of special-purpose hardware with the flexibility of general-purpose computers. With Teramac as a development tool we were able to implement in just five weeks working Cube-4 prototypes, capable of rendering for example datasets of 1283 voxels in 0.65 seconds at 0.96 MHz processing frequency. The performance results from these implementations indicate real-time performance for high-resolution data-sets.