provides a library for visualizing and animating a two dimensional grid of colors through a small DataVis
class. The primary purpose of this library is to provide an easy to use interface to explore parallel computing through data visualization. The DataVis
class makes it easy to create small derived classes that use various parallel frameworks to update the color grid. The library uses Qt and OpenGL 4.x to animate and visualize the grid as the user updates it, but users do not need to be experts in either Qt or OpenGL to use this library. Currently, the following parallel frameworks are supported
Users can also write single threaded applications for comparison or initial testing.
The installer will attempt to autodetect available libraries, so it is possible to use this library if e.g., you only have pthreads and OpenMP available on your system. While the library will attempt to compile support for as many frameworks as possible, users can focus on a single parallel framework when designing their application, and do not need to understand all of the above parallel frameworks to use this library.
This QtVis git repo includes some small sample demos, and you can use this repo to extend and write your own demos. However, this code also supports being installed as a library. Under this configuration, a single user could configure, build, and install the library on a network and multiple users can develop parallel applications that use this library using a much more simplified code base. Examples of demos that use and link against this library are available in a separate qt-demos repo.
Quick Build Instructions
To quickly try out the code samples, try the standard CMake out of source build directions.
Not all demos may be available if, for example, CUDA or OpenMP are not supported on your system.
More installation details including tips for finding and configuring CUDA, or installing for multiple users on a network can be found on the install
Writing your own animations
While it is possible to modify or add to the demos in the QtVis
git repo, it may be easier to use the separate qt-demos
repo as a starting point for developing your own animations. The demos
page has more details on using this repo and how to write a basic animation in the parallel framework of your choice.
Building with modern CMake
In an attempt to make the library easy to configure and install for a wide range of platforms, I tried to learn some modern CMake design patterns along the way. While understanding these details is not required for users of this library, perhaps other CMake users may find my CMake 3.x notes
on this project helpful for designing libraries of moderate complexity. If any CMake experts that come across this document/repo and have constructive feedback for further improvements on my CMake setup, I'd appreciate suggestions.
The Visualization Library
Our OpenGL library uses ideas from the
"CUDA By Example"
text, and transparently
allocates a display grid on the GPU that allows students to color individual
pixels via a CUDA kernel call. CUDA
programs that use this flexible library
may allocate additional GPU buffers to store non-color data. Students then
write one or more CUDA kernels to update their data and the display grid and
the library repeatedly calls these functions in an animation loop.
We provide documentation for the Visulization Library as well
as source files in a github repo.