Real-time GPU-accelerated Out-of-Core Rendering and Light-field Display Visualization for Improved Massive Volume Understanding

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Iglesias Guitian, Jose A.
Nowadays huge digital models are becoming increasingly available for a number of different applications ranging from CAD, industrial design to medicine and natural sciences. Particularly, in the field of medicine, data acquisition devices such as MRI or CT scanners routinely produce huge volumetric datasets. Currently, these datasets can easily reach dimensions of 1024^3 voxels and datasets larger than that are not uncommon.This thesis focuses on efficient methods for the interactive exploration of such large volumes using direct volume visualization techniques on commodity platforms. To reach this goal specialized multi-resolution structures and algorithms, which are able to directly render volumes of potentially unlimited size are introduced. The developed techniques are output sensitive and their rendering costs depend only on the complexity of the generated images and not on the complexity of the input datasets. The advanced characteristics of modern GPGPU architectures are exploited and combined with an out-of-core framework in order to provide a more flexible, scalable and efficient implementation of these algorithms and data structures on single GPUs and GPU clusters.To improve visual perception and understanding, the use of novel 3D display technology based on a light-field approach is introduced. This kind of device allows multiple naked-eye users to perceive virtual objects floating inside the display workspace, exploiting the stereo and horizontal parallax. A set of specialized and interactive illustrative techniques capable of providing different contextual information in different areas of the display, as well as an out-of-core CUDA based ray-casting engine with a number of improvements over current GPU volume ray-casters are both reported. The possibilities of the system are demonstrated by the multi-user interactive exploration of 64-GVoxel datasets on a 35-MPixel light-field display driven by a cluster of PCs.