Why the PC will be the most pervasive visualization platform in 2001

Pfister H.

(IEEE: Visualization 99. Proceedings, 1999.)

Graphics accelerators for PCs are becoming more powerful and cheaper almost every month. What impacts does this development have on scientific visualization? Everybody agrees that there is a market pyramid with a high end at the pinnacle. But budgets are shrinking for those machines. And as the PC moves up in performance and features it becomes harder to justify incremental advantages for astronomical cost. Is this the end of “big iron vis”? Are we moving towards - gasp - “consumer vis”? What are the implications? The four panelists will give 15 minute presentations, trying their best to stir some controversy, followed by a hopefully heated and lively discussion with the audience. All panelists have been offered immunity from prosecution based on any statements, posing, or posturing, implied or actual, that may occur in this panel. Their employers will vehemently deny any knowledge of their participation. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Hanspeter Pfister, Research Scientist at MERL - A Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratory in Cambridge, MA. He is the chief architect of VolumePro, Mitsubishi Electric’s real-time volume rendering system for PC-class computers. Despite his obvious inclination towards consumer PCs, Dr. Pfister will try to give the illusion of being an impartial panel chair.