CYBERSKA

 A Cyberinfrastructure platform to meet the needs of data intensive radio astronomy on route to the SKA

Interactive Visualization of the Largest Radioastronomy Cubes

http://arxiv.org/abs/1008.0135

3D visualization is an important data analysis and knowledge discovery tool, however, interactive visualization of large 3D astronomical datasets poses a challenge for many existing data visualization packages. We present a solution to interactively visualize larger-than-memory 3D astronomical data cubes by utilizing a heterogeneous cluster of CPUs and GPUs. The system partitions the data volume into smaller sub-volumes that are distributed over the rendering workstations. A GPU-based ray casting volume rendering is performed to generate images for each sub-volume, which are composited to generate the whole volume output, and returned to the user. Datasets including the HI Parkes All Sky Survey (HIPASS - 12 GB) southern sky and the Galactic All Sky Survey (GASS - 26 GB) data cubes were used to demonstrate our framework's performance. The framework can render the GASS data cube with a maximum render time < 0.3 second with 1024 x 1024 pixels output resolution using 3 rendering workstations and 8 GPUs. Our framework will scale to visualize larger datasets, even of Terabyte order, if proper hardware infrastructure is available.