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Los Alamos Adds 'Fakespace' Data Simulator

Photonics.com
Nov 2005
MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa, Nov. 10 -- A new room-size stereoscopic display, or "immersive viewing environment," will help researchers at the US Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Stewardship Program better understand and use the massive amounts of data generated by the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

IMMERSED: An immersive room at Los Alamos
Fakespace Systems delivered the system, which features a 43-million-pixel display in a 15 by 12-ft, 10-ft-deep room in which images are rear-projected onto three walls, the ceiling and the floor. A total of 33 stereoscopic digital projectors are seamlessly tiled to produce continuous images that meet the laboratory's requirements for brightness, resolution and dynamic color range so that small details and subtle phenomena can be easily detected and analyzed. It uses EnSight software for 3-D scientific visualization from Computational Engineering International, which runs on a special SGI Onyx4 3900 supercomputer. The supercomputer is configured with 34 graphics engines (or pipes) so that all 33 projectors display one integrated stereoscopic image that changes in real time with a users' movement.

Iowa-based Fakespace has built nine visualization systems at Los Alamos, four of which are in the Nicholas C. Metropolis Center for Modeling and Simulation. Data on the new immersive room can also be viewed on researchers' desktops and on the other immersive displays, and the system is connected to other national laboratories around the country for remote collaboration and data sharing.

Bob Greene, visualization specialist at Los Alamos, said, "Our researchers are viewing simulations based on computations that generate more data than is contained in the entire print collection of the Library of Congress in one calculation. Even with datasets that have been reviewed for many years, immersive viewing at this scale is now revealing significant discoveries. With its high pixel density and extreme resolution, this stereoscopic visualization room is an important development in our efforts to advance the nature of predictive simulation science."

At Los Alamos, single simulations have generated as much as 652 terabytes of data. In order to analyze the highly detailed structures in such enormous datasets, extreme resolution is required to eliminate artifacts that are sometimes generated at lower resolutions.

The lab is using the new immersive facility to maintain the US government nuclear stockpile without underground testing. Potential future uses include work in crisis prediction, climate modeling and in understanding the impact of natural and man-made disasters on transportation, power, telecommunications and water delivery systems.

For more information, visit: www.fakespacesystems.com



GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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