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VizNET and the potential N.V.S. “Anyone Interested in a National Visualization Service?“. Dr. Ian Grimstead Cardiff School of Computer Science email: Contents. Introduction - visualization VizNET: Who/What? National Visualization Service – Why?

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viznet and the potential n v s

VizNET and the potential N.V.S.

“Anyone Interested in a National Visualization Service?“

Dr. Ian Grimstead

Cardiff School of Computer Science


  • Introduction - visualization
  • VizNET: Who/What?
  • National Visualization Service – Why?
  • Summary of Loughborough Meeting for NVS
  • Wrap-up
  • Visualization acknowledged as requiring additional support
    • Growing data mountain – the need to analyse data rapidly
    • Visualization is a means to do this
    • Need to increase people’s awareness of this potential solution
  • Motivation:
    • Visualization previously required specialist, expensive hardware
    • Recent availability of cost-effective hardware
    • Research groups now newly enabled to use visualization

Anyone seen my results?

viznet what
VizNET: What?
  • Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) has recently funded “VizNET” in the U.K. to:
    • Offer advice / training for visualization
    • Promote best practice
      • Make best use of facilities (hardware & software)
      • Most appropriate tools for the job
    • Spread awareness of visualization
      • And hence computational steering
viznet who
VizNET: Who?
  • VizNET is:
    • PI – Prof. Roy Kalawsky (Loughborough)
    • Created by a number of UK visualization centres
      • Cardiff, CCLRC, Leeds, Loughborough, Manchester
      • + King’s College London (Arts & Humanities)
  • So, on the subject of visualization…
national visualization service why
National Visualization Service: Why?
  • National Grid Service currently provides compute service
  • Growing evidence:
    • Overwhelmed with high-end compute output
    • Advanced scientific users require high-end visualization
    • Need specialist visualization hardware/software
  • Proposition: A National Visualization Service
    • What does this mean?
    • It means whatever the community defines it as
      • Not just viz
      • …could be a render farm
      • …could be computational steering
      • …up to you!
  • Hence attendance at events to gather community input
summary of loughborough meeting
Summary of Loughborough Meeting
  • Visualization requirements workshop 18th May 2006
    • Systems Engineering Innovation Centre, Loughborough University
  • Aims of meeting:
    • Inform the JISC Committee for Supporting Research (JCSR)
    • Determine strength of support for a national visualization resource
    • Considered as a possible extension to the existing National Grid Service
  • Attendees:
    • Reasonable spectrum of disciplines
    • Spread across the UK
factors issues highlighted
Factors/Issues Highlighted
  • Prof. Peter Coveney (UCL) gave a keynote speech
    • Computational materials modelling; RealityGrid
  • Important issues raised:
    • Current e-Science infrastructure is incomplete
      • Does not provide all end-to-end capability people expect
    • Trend will be for larger data sets to prevent finite size effects
      • Will produce more demanding visualization challenges
    • Likely key requirement:
      • Real-time interaction and computational steering
        • Between visualizations and simulations
      • Distributed infrastructure
    • Cited HPC usage report from EPSRC…
international review of research using hpc in the uk
International Review of Research Using HPC in the UK

December 2005 – EPSRC (ISBN 1-904425-54-2)

  • Recommendation: 2. Strengthen the computational infrastructure by:
    • …deploying leading-edge capability systems…
    • Supporting and developing a state-of-the-art applications software infrastructure
    • …data management and analysis, visualization… (p16)
  • Recommendation: 4.4.Visualization Resources
    • …visualization is indispensable in computational science…
    • …the Panel observed that visualization in the UK lags behind international standards…
    • ..... The Panel are concerned that without an improvement in visualization sophistication… …hidden scientific treasures will increasingly lurk undiscovered in the massive data to be produced by the enhancement of HPC capability and capacity…
    • …Therefore, the Panel recommends… …to establish a balance among leading-edge computing facilities, visualization technologies, and well educated computational scientists. (p15)
user perspective requirements
User Perspective / Requirements
  • Summary from attendees:
    • NGS policies would need to change to incorporate a visualization component.
    • Need to support wide range of users
    • Users need access to familiar tools
      • Improved tools will be required
      • Collaborative tools
    • May be a case for a single “monster” resource and multiple “mini-monsters”
    • Covers interactive and batch approaches (render farm)
    • Should include all modalities (visual / auditory / haptic)
    • Support for mobile – visualization on the move
    • Data transfer / storage issues
service provision
Service Provision
  • Summary from attendees:
    • Interactive service requires different booking method cpw. batch
      • May need co-allocation with compute resource for computation steering
    • Issue of suppliers – may become more reliant on PC class hardware
    • User support needs will vary:
      • Expert – specialist assistance
      • Novice – general assistance
    • Service must be reliable
    • One stop sign-in for ease of access
    • Varying security requirements
      • Medical data cpw. generic scientific data
    • Diverse applications (user’s own code / specific application)
    • Licensing issues

OK, I’m up here… …now what?

recommendations 1 3
Recommendations #1/3
  • National Visualization Service
    • Consensus support for a National Visualization Service
      • Run alongside NGS
    • Should be a distributed, rather than centralized, service
    • Different sites offer different facilities and access to visualization resources
    • Level of provision: orders of magnitude greater than PC desktop hardware
recommendations 2 3
Recommendations #2/3
  • User Requirements
    • We need to consider requirements from a broad spectrum of users
      • Users requirements in social sciences, arts and humanities are less well understood
      • Compare with science and engineering community
    • Needs support for interactive computational steering
    • Collaborative visualization working could be of major benefit to the community
      • Especially at an international level

I’m a VTK/C++ man, m’self

recommendations 3 3
Recommendations #3/3
  • Accessibility
    • Barriers may exist until potential users are up to speed
    • VizNET has a role here in providing training and support.
    • Reservation of visualization facilities is important
      • Example: for interactive computational steering, or high-profile demonstrations
    • Software licensing is an issue that may need vendor participation to resolve.
  • Funding
    • JISC should be encouraged to consider a National Visualization Service
    • Within JISC’s budgetary planning for funding as soon as possible
it s win your own nvs time
It’s… “Win* Your Own NVS” Time!
  • Well…
  • Partake and you will help define the NVS as you want it
    • So you'll get your own NVS in a way
  • OK! Anyone using visualization?
  • Computation steering?
  • You may not consider it viz/comp steer, but it might be!
    • Broad spectrum
      • Interactive and non-traditional displays
      • Haptics
    • Off-line rendering
    • Batch job checkpointing
    • Graphing of data

* = do not win

anyone using viz comp steering
Anyone using Viz. / Comp. Steering?
  • To produce an NVS, we’d love to know…
  • What are you doing – executive summary, please!
    • What does viz / comp steer enable you to do?
    • That you couldn't otherwise
    • Or, “Why bother” for the non-visualization users
  • What are you prevented from doing?
    • Why? “It’s rock hard!” perchance?
    • Or rather, what would you like to be doing?
  • Any particular software/hardware do you use?
  • If there was an NVS, what would you like? For instance…
    • High-end graphics processors to render a larger dataset in real time?
    • Software that you haven't got locally?
    • A link into an NGS process that's running for comp steer?
it s a wrap
It’s a Wrap!
  • Thank-you for your input!
  • And (potentially) surviving the humour
  • Remember!
  • We need to be user driven by YOU

for this to work!!!

  • Note: Additional workshops to be held
    • UK e-Science AHM 2006 – next Wednesday
    • Also at NeSC, as Loughborough workshop
      • Date to be confirmed; in October 2006 at NeSC