Pixel-exact rendering of spacetime finite element solutions

Yuan Zhou, Michael Garland, Robert Haber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Computational simulation of time-varying physical processes is of fundamental importance for many scientific and engineering applications. Most frequently, time-varying simulations are performed over multiple spatial grids at discrete points in time. In this paper, we investigate a new approach to time-varying simulation: spacetime discontinuous Galerkin finite element methods. The result of this simulation method is a simplicial tessellation of spacetime with per-element polynomial solutions for physical quantities such as strain, stress, and velocity. To provide accurate visualizations of the resulting solutions, we have developed a method for per-pixel evaluation of solution data on the GPU. We demonstrate the importance of per-pixel rendering versus simple linear interpolation for producing high quality visualizations. We also show that our system can accommodate reasonably large datasets - spacetime meshes containing up to 20 million tetrahedra are not uncommon in this domain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIEEE Visualization 2004 - Proceedings, VIS 2004
EditorsH. Rushmeier, G. Turk, J.J. Wijk
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004
EventIEEE Visualization 2004 - Proceedings, VIS 2004 - Austin, TX, United States
Duration: Oct 10 2004Oct 15 2004

Publication series

NameIEEE Visualization 2004 - Proceedings, VIS 2004


OtherIEEE Visualization 2004 - Proceedings, VIS 2004
CountryUnited States
CityAustin, TX


  • Discontinuous Galerkin methods
  • Pixel shaders
  • Pixel-exact visualization
  • Spacetime finite elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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