Graphics : from a 100x data expansion to a 100x compression function
Graphics : from a 100x data expansion
to a 100x compression function
Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer,
In the mid 1980s, a typical large data visualization, involved
the input of geometry in the order of 10,000 triangles,
for rendering into about a million display pixels. However, today,
we see input data sets growing to a billion triangles, while the
generated display has only grown to about 10 million
pixels. Consequently, large data visualization have, over the
years, changed from a data expansion, to a data compression function.
This four orders of magnitude change has evoked renewed interests in
ray tracing rendering techniques, of which its performance can be
made more input geometry-quantity insensitive. This is as opposed
to scanline rendering techniques, such as OpenGL, that can be made
more output pixel-quantity insensitive.
For those staying with scanline techniques, the enormous growth in
geometry count has made it necessary for the development of scalable
parallel rendering. This is where tens of Graphics Processing Units
(GPUs) are coordinated to render one large geometric data set.
After the pixels are produced by each of these GPUs, ways of
compositing their individual output into a single display, with
feedback loops for dynamic load balancing, may be necessary.
As the crossover "from expansion to compression" continues, it will
become increasingly practical, in certain remote visualization
sessions, to invent ways to transmit only the generated pixels;
instead of the traditional method of transmitting the entire
geometric data set for pixel generation at the remote user's
station. Add to this the advances in display, lighting and
input technologies for mobile handheld
devices, interesting new applications may evolve for the scientific,
engineering and creative users.
Dr. Eng Lim Goh has been with SGI for 15 years, becoming one of the
chief scientists in 1998 and chief technology officer in 2001. His
tenure includes work in computer graphics algorithms and high
performance computing (HPC) architectures.
In HPC, he oversees Project Ultraviolet, the goal of which is to
design and build the company's next generation science-driven computer
architecture. He is also the coauthor of SGI's recommendation to the
high-end computing revitalization task force (HECRTF) for federal
funding of key corresponding technologies. This proposal was reviewed
by HECRTF in 2003 and judged to be one of the top submitted papers.
Dr. Goh is known as a proponent of next-generation computer systems
designed specifically for customer applications performance. To this,
he advocates computational density and a balanced multi-paradigm
approach, across a globally addressable memory, to architectural
In computer graphics, Dr. Goh's current research interest is in the
relationships between human visual perception and visual computing. He
has been awarded two U.S. patents in this field. He is also leading a
small research effort to investigate application-transparent,
massively parallel advanced rendering.
In 2005, the IDG publication, InfoWorld, named Dr. Goh one of World's
25 most influential CTOs. He has also been named in the HPCwire list
of "15 People to Watch."
Before joining SGI, Dr. Goh worked for Intergraph Systems,
Schlumberger Wireline Netherlands, and Shell Research U.K. A Shell
Cambridge University Scholar, he completed his Ph.D. research and
dissertation on parallel architectures and computer graphics. He also
holds a first-class honors degree in mechanical engineering from
Birmingham University, U.K.