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The Visualization Centres of GCS

Hand in Hand with High Performance Computing

Visualization of the storage basin of a pumped storage hydro power station and the surrounding landscapeVisualization of the storage basin of a pumped storage hydro power station
Source: HLRS

Increasingly powerful supercomputing resources enable researchers to solve massive, complex simulations in perpetually shorter amounts of time. By achieving results, researchers gain insights into their respective science and research fields. However, the mounds of data generated are usually so large and complex that researchers must find additional tools to understand and analyse their simulations. In many cases, this is done by converting the data to three-dimensional models, which the “virtual laboratories” at the three GCS centres make possible through their accessible projection rooms and high-definition large projection screens.

Virtual Reality allows researchers to more intuitively portray and work with their simulation data. When researchers see their simulation results visually, they are often able to see if there are mistakes upon first glance. In the case of mistakes, they are able to quickly make optimizations and alterations. Another advantage is that researchers from various disciplines are able to collectively analyse their data and results.

Reconstruction and visualization of a 5th century b. c. chamber tombReconstruction and visualization of a 5th century b. c. chamber tomb, a project of Prof. Summerer, LMU München. Left: the power wall, right: the walk-in projection room.
Source: LRZ

For example, development engineers that are working on optimizing the shape of cars for a reduction of air resistance, and ultimately reducing emissions, must also collaborate with production managers and designers. For a single question, these various differing voices often have multiple approaches to solving the problem, because each position approaches the problem with different priorities. By using a virtual laboratory, interdisciplinary and efficient improvements can easily be made.

The visualization possibilities offered by the three GCS centres also allow dynamic adaptation of their images based on the current position of the observer. One steps into these vizualisation environments and interacts directly with the machine. In these accessible projection rooms, a user gets the feeling that they are free to move in the middle of a “virtual world,” that can be any type of environment scenarios, be it in the middle of a virtual building or the centre of the earth.

Researchers can immerse themselves in whole power plants, turbines, or airplanes, examine them from different perspectives, and see whether their individual parts interact with one another efficiently. During this process, they can analyse the smallest parameter adjustments to the various components in real time.

VR-Rotunde at JSCVR-Rotunde at JSC
Source: Forschungszentrum Jülich