Engineers at the University of California, San Diego have constructed the highest-resolution computer display in the world – with a screen resolution up to 220 million pixels.
The system located at the UCSD division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) links to Calit2’s building at UC Irvine, which boasts the previous record holder. The combination – known as the Highly Interactive Parallelized Display Space (HIPerSpace) – can deliver real-time rendered graphics simultaneously across 420 million pixels to audiences in Irvine and San Diego.
The new HIPerSpace system between Irvine and San Diego is joined together via high-performance, dedicated optical networking that clocks in at up to two gigabits per second (2Gbps). The systems use the same type of graphics rendering technology, from industry partner NVIDIA. The “graphics super cluster” being developed at UCSD consists of 80 NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 graphics processing units (GPUs). “The graphics and computational performance of these cards is quite astounding,” said Kuester. “Putting the theoretical computational performance of the cluster at almost 40 teraflops. To put that into context, the top-rated supercomputer in the world five years ago was operating at that same speed. While these are purely theoretical numbers, the comparison clearly hints at capabilities of this new cluster that go far beyond generating impressive visual information.”
The processing power will come in handy for the kinds of large-scale applications that are likely to make use of the HIPerSpace system. Calit2 will make the displays available to teams of scientists or engineers dealing with very large data sets, from multiple gigabytes to terabytes, notably in the Earth sciences, climate prediction, biomedical engineering, genomics, and brain imaging. “The higher-resolution displays allow researchers to take in both the broad view of the data and the minutest details, all at the same time,” said Kuester.