Invited Talk


Title: Graphics : from a 100x data expansion to a 100x compression function
Speaker: Eng Lim Goh

Graphics : from a 100x data expansion to a 100x compression function

Eng Lim Goh
Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, SGI


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 design.

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.




Naval Postgraduate School

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