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Running hydrodynamic models interactively allows both visual exploration and change of model state during simulation. One of the main characteristics of an interactive model is that it should provide immediate feedback to the user, for example respond to changes in model state or view settings. For this reason, such features are usually only available for models with a relatively small number of computational cells, which are used mainly for demonstration and educational purposes. It would be useful if interactive modeling would also work for models typically used in consultancy projects involving large scale simulations. This results in a number of technical challenges related to the combination of the model itself and the visualisation tools (scalability, implementation of an appropriate API for control and access to the internal state). While model parallelisation is increasingly addressed by the environmental modeling community, little effort has been spent on developing a high-performance interactive environment. What can we learn from other high-end visualisation domains such as 3D animation, gaming, virtual globes (Autodesk 3ds Max, Second Life, Google Earth) that also focus on efficient interaction with 3D environments? In these domains high efficiency is usually achieved by the use of computer graphics algorithms such as surface simplification depending on current view, distance to objects, and efficient caching of the aggregated representation of object meshes. We investigate how these algorithms can be re-used in the context of interactive hydrodynamic modeling without significant changes to the model code and allowing model operation on both multi-core CPU personal computers and high-performance computer clusters.


Session S4-02, Special Session: User Interfaces, Environments, and Visualization in Support of Modeling



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