For DKRZ, one of Europe’s fastest supercomputer facilities, BARCO integrated a high performing VR visualization display in the institute’s seminar room and networked it through optical connections and advanced switching equipment to the HP SVA High Performance Visualization Cluster located in DKRZ’s computer rooms in the 15th floor of the “Geomatikum”, a university building vis-à-vis to DKRZ’s office building.
The AmiraVR and AVS/Express MPE application software used for the visualization of the climate data fullu support the multi-pipe rendering and tracking. The wireless ART optical tracking system allows the scientists to easily interact with the data in which they are immersed.

Gaining more insight into the processes and ineractions govening our climate
With high-end computing resources of about 1.0 TeraFlops sustained performance and a storage capacity of more than 6 PetaByte (equaling 10 million CDs, a pile more than 10 km high), the virtual laboratory for the German earth system research provides state-of-the-art super-computing data service to the German scientific community. On DKRZ’s systems, simulations with complex numerical models of the global climate system are carried out in order to gain more insight into the processes and interactions governing our climate and related fields such as global change. Interactive 3D visualizations of these simulations help to see and understand the human influence on the system earth and the impact of global change on our living conditions. Scientists can interact with complicated numerical model computations and spatial relationships become more readily apparent.

Excellent stereoscopic depth perception
To implement a high resolution stereoscopic visualization system at DKRZ and to network it to the other visualization stations, main contractor HP called upon Barco. The Barco display in the seminar room is powered by two Barco iCon high resolution projectors (1920 by 1080 active pixels) delivering a razor sharp image on a 2.4 by 1.35m Barco PASCAD screen.  The system can be used as well in stereo mode as in mono mode. Excellent stereo separation is guaranteed as the circular polarization filters inside the Barco passive stereo projectors perfectly match the polarization of the comfortable lightweight glasses. Thanks to the circular polarization viewers can tilt their head and change viewing angles for in depth analysis of the visual data.  The non-depolarizing properties of the Barco PASCAD passive stereo screen maintain the optimal stereo separation free of ghosting and offer a wide viewing angle. 

Enhanced interaction with the data
A full fledged ART optical tracking system was build into the ceiling. A hand target, glasses tracker and tree target accurately tracks the user’s position and gives feedback to the computer which automatically adjusts the image corresponding to the viewer’s stand point and movements. When mono mode is activated the system automatically switches on the projector with the lowest runtime to keep runtimes on both projectors as equal as possible.

Easy operation through familiar Windows XP interface
Operating the display is very easy as all display functions can be directed through a wireless keyboard and mouse in the Seminar-room. Icons on the screens desktop allow switching for stereo to mono mode and to select the sources to display. Local sources include 4 laptops, 2PC’s, a DVD or VHS player and videoconferencing. Remote sources, linked via fiber from the “Geomatikum”, include rendering nodes from a HP SVA Visualization-cluster. Multi window lay-outs with views from different sources can be created and stored in the projectors internal memory.

In order to network the different active stereo monitors in the workrooms and in the video lab and the passive stereo/mono rear projection system in the seminar-room with the remote sources in the Geomatikum, seven pairs of fiber cables and advanced Thinklogical VISExtenders and a 16 x 16 fiber matrix switcher are used. Controlling the fiber matrix can be done from via a web browser and even from the Barco iCon projectors’ internal server.

The advanced high performance networked Barco Visualization at the DKRZ aims to keep German scientists at the leading edge of climate research. Major user institutions are the  Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg University’s Centre for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences ZMAW), the  Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar  and Marine Research (AWI) and  the Geesthacht GKSS Research Center.