About the GPU Research Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara
Our ultimate goal is to run highly complex numerical simulations in real-time, and render them on the AlloSphere, a massive display that is far larger than anything that is commercially available today. This display will serve as a prototype for the large-scale displays of tomorrow, such as rooms that are wallpapered with flexible OLEDs. Every aspect of this goal could directly benefit from close integration with GPU computing. Dr. Kim runs large-scale numerical simulations that involve millions of degrees of freedom and computation times that can range from hours to days. He is an expert in “reduced-order” methods, which have successfully accelerated these types of simulations by multiple orders of magnitude. However, many bottlenecks remain, such as an embarrassingly parallel num-ber of 3 × 3 singular value decompositions. The superior computational power and memory bandwidth of GPUs clearly offer new acceleration opportunities. The Allosphere visualizations that Dr. Kuchera-Morin performs push visual rendering to a massive scale. In order to support active stereo over the entire surface of the sphere, 26 projectors must run at 120 Hz and display over 4.98 billion pixels per second. Such a workload pushes the limits of modern GPUs, and exceeds the capabilities of even the most high-end Quadro Plex system. The opportunities for systems research are manifold.

About the Co-PIs
Theodore Kim is Assistant Professor in the Graduate Program in Media Arts and Technology and the Computer Science Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara and runs the Simulation and Animation Laboratory (SAL), which investigates complex numerical simulations, including smoke phenomena, water simulations, and virtual humans. He is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award (2013) and a Scientific and Technical Academy Award (2012). He has been researching physical simulations for over a decade, and authored one of the first GPGPU papers on simulation.

JoAnn Kuchera-Morin is Professor in the Graduate Program in Media Arts and Technology and the Music Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the Director of the Allosphere Research Facility, a unique, 3- story, 30-foot diameter sphere that enables the synthesis, manipulation, exploration and analysis of large-scale data sets (Figure 1, bottom). She has been researching topics in multimodal, multi-user interaction for over 14 years, and has published extensively on methods for visualizing, sonifying, and interacting with large-scale data on a massive display. Over the last 7 years, she has been the Principal Investigator for over $5 million in external research funding.