WireGL: A Scalable Graphics System for Clusters

Greg Humphreys, Matthew Eldridge, Ian Buck, Gordon Stoll, Matthew Everett and Pat Hanrahan

Appears in Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 2001


We describe WireGL, a system for scalable interactive rendering on a cluster of workstations. WireGL provides the familiar OpenGL API to each node in a cluster, virtualizing multiple graphics accelerators into a sort-first parallel renderer with a parallel interface. We also describe techniques for reassembling an output image from a set of tiles distributed over a cluster. Using flexible display management, WireGL can drive a variety of output devices, from standalone displays to tiled display walls. By combining the power of virtual graphics, the familiarity and ordered semantics of OpenGL, and the scalability of clusters, we are able to create time-varying visualizations that sustain rendering performance over 70,000,000 triangles per second at interactive refresh rates using 16 compute nodes and 16 rendering nodes.


Greg Humphreys