A Distributed Graphics System for Large Tiled Displays

Greg Humphreys and Pat Hanrahan
Stanford University

Appears in the Proceedings of IEEE Visualization '99


Recent interest in large displays has led to renewed development of tiled displays, which are comprised of several individual displays arranged in an array and used as one large logical display. Stanford's ``Interactive Mural'' is an example of such a display, using an overlapping four by two array of projectors that back-project onto a diffuse screen to form a 6' by 2' display area with a resolution of over 60 dpi. Writing software to make effective use of the large display space is a challenge because normal window system interaction metaphors break down. One promising approach is to switch to immersive applications; another approach, the one we are investigating, is to emulate office, conference room or studio environments which use the space to display a collection of visual material to support group activities.

In this paper we describe a virtual graphics system that is designed to support multiple simultaneous rendering streams from both local and remote sites. The system abstracts the physical number of computers, graphics subsystems and projectors used to create the display. We provide performance measurements to show that the system scales well and thus supports a variety of different hardware configurations. The system is also interesting because it uses transparent ``layers,'' instead of windows, to manage the screen.


Paper in PDF (150K) and Compressed Postscript (200K)
Color plate in PDF (2MB) and Compressed Postscript (1.7MB)
Greg Humphreys