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UCI Completes World's Highest-Resolution Display Wall
[August 01, 2005]

UCI Completes World's Highest-Resolution Display Wall

IRVINE, Calif. --(Business Wire)-- Aug. 1, 2005 -- Scientists at UC Irvine have completed the world's highest-resolution display for visualizing massive data sets. The room-sized Highly Interactive Parallelized Display Wall (HIPerWall) measures nearly 23 x 9 feet.

The system, consisting of 50 flat-panel tiles, resides in the Calit2 Center of GRAVITY (Graphics, Visualization and Imaging Technology) at UCI, and provides a total resolution of 200 million pixels, bringing to life terabyte-sized data sets. HIPerWall's resolution is nearly twice that of the world's next highest-resolution display wall.

"The resolution of state-of-the-art high-definition television is equal to one-half of one HIPerWall tile," said Falko Kuester, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and a system designer. "HIPerWall's resolution enables scientists to see complete data sets that previously could only be viewed one slice at a time."

HIPerWall will bring alive a variety of data -- from biomedical to climate datasets, including numerical data, medical imaging and satellite photography. It will be utilized by a wide range of multi-disciplinary researchers.

Scientists from UC Irvine's Earth system science department will use HIPerWall to compare dozens of future climate simulations developed for the upcoming United Nations climate assessment. "Progress on fundamental questions of weather, climate and the planet's future depends on distilling meaningful insights from the largest structured datasets ever created," said Charlie Zender, associate professor of Earth system science.

HIPerWall data can be viewed in two ways: as a single, full-screen visual at a resolution of 200 megapixels; or in tiled mode, as a series of smaller pictures from data streams or 3-D models that are displayed simultaneously for comparison purposes.

Development of the project, which was funded with a $393,533 National Science Foundation grant, began in the summer of 2004 and progressed from a single-tile prototype to increasingly larger configurations, to today's 10 x 5 LCD-panel configuration. Each panel, with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels (4 megapixels), is powered by a dual-processor 2.7GHz G5 node, with nVIDIA 6800 Ultra DDL graphics, that has access to an initial storage capacity of 10 terabytes.

"Each development step opened new research challenges that guided the development of the current system," said Kuester. "This system will now serve as the foundation for fundamental computer engineering and computer science research in synergy with areas such as earth system sciences, biomedical engineering and astrophysics."

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