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Building a Scalable High-Resolution Display Wall (Thesis)

Report ID:
November 2000
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The past three decades have seen dramatic improvements made in computer and
networking technologies. But display resolution, an important aspect
of modern information systems, has lagged behind.
Previous efforts in scaling up display resolution have relied on
special-purpose hardware for building both the physical displays and
the computer systems that drive the displays.
The prohibitively high cost of these efforts limited the scalability
of the systems as well as their market adoption.
This dissertation describes a Display Wall architecture that uses
projector tiling and PC clustering to achieve scalable resolution and at
the same time render 2D and 3D graphics scenes as fast as or even faster
than a fast PC graphics system with a traditional display. Unlike previous
approaches that relied on custom-made hardware, this architecture
results in low cost per pixel by simply leveraging commodity components
such as projection devices, personal computers, graphics accelerators,
and off-the-shelf system-area networks. Yet many challenging problems
arise when we cluster PCs and tile projector together. The most notable
ones are how to build efficient communication transport within the PC
cluster, how to coordinate many PCs to display smooth motion graphics,
and how to tile projectors without visible seams.
This dissertation focuses
on three research issues in building a tiled, cluster-based display wall:
seamless tiling, efficient cluster communication, and runtime environments
for a cluster-based scalable display. For each issue, a novel algorithm is
described and its effectiveness evaluated with empirical results.

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