Advanced Imaging

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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Mercury Computer Systems
This display shows a variety of different types of data and visualizations typical of oil exploration and production research.
Mercury Computer Systems
Mercury's data management strategy for the very large volumes of data in oil E&P. The data is processed and visualized in 3D by the GPU.
Mercury Computer Systems
An advanced visualization blends amplitude and velocity into a single image by use of a shader, a specific set of software instructions.
Mercury Computer Systems
A small cluster of PCs can be used to show scalability (ability to handle excessive amounts of data).
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By Barry Hochfelder

"Visualization middleware is no longer concerned only with rendering algorithms, Heck adds. "Seismic volume data and derived data such as surfaces [horizons] and meshes [reservoir models] is too large to fit in memory and difficult to render interactively."

Advanced visualization middleware now addresses data management, computation and scalability, in addition to rendering. Desktop machines can handle hundred gigabyte volumes and hundred million cell models at interactive speeds. Computation support provides a framework for multi-core computing and provides building block algorithms already tuned for multi-core hardware."

"In this solution, a pre-processing step subdivides the volume data into "bricks" and computes multiple resolution levels. The full-resolution data is the lowest level of the hierarchy, and each higher-level brick represents multiple bricks at the level below."

The middleware can initially load the lower-resolution data then refine the image as higher-resolution data is loaded in the background. The user doesn't have to wait for all the data to be loaded, only that which is actually needed.

Machines with multiple central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs) are evolving along with data size and algorithm complexity. But today's visualization middleware can handle more than just algorithms. Seismic volume data and derived data such as surfaces is too large to fit in memory and difficult to render interactively. Advanced visualization middleware now addresses data management, computation and scalability in addition to rendering. Advanced data management allows desktop machines to handle hundred gigabyte volumes and hundred million cell models at interactive speeds. Computation support leverages this data management, provides framework for multi-core computing and provides building block algorithms already tuned for multi-core hardware.



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