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Monday, March 06, 2006

R & D Showcase '06: Display Wall

The R & D Showcase ended; a lot of fanfare, but the industry was uninterested (stupid Bush!). If the activity observed in the academic building is any criteria, it was succesful -- never before had I seen such activity going on in the main building. So many people moving around systems, tables, posters, and other people.

Display Wall
The Display Wall was unprecedented this time. The 3x4 matrix utilized 12 systems. The combined setup with a 6.25 megapixel resolution, 8.704 GB RAM, 1 TB storage and 36.2 GHz of processing power was cooled in a separate room (#215). 11 of the 12 systems used had the same config as the ones in lab-5, and the ATI graphics drivers were unusable in Linux (shame shame ATI).

Sincere thanks to Parry and Tarun for installing Fedora on all the systems, SMR for helping throughout thereafter, and Vardhman for the pics.

Some common questions asked about Display Wall:
Q1: What are you doing apart from just cutting an image and displaying on those systems?
Ans: Those are not images. They are rendered from a 3D model. The model has 13 Million triangles, and is a bit too heavy for even the most serious graphics cards.

Q2: Why not use a projector instead?
Ans: A display wall is different from just projecting using a projector. Projecting a display merely increases the scale, not the resolution. And if you sit near to a projected display, you'll start observing blocks. However, in the case of the display wall, the combined resolution is far greater than that of a single system. You can of course replace each monitor with a projector, and the total resolution is herculean.

Q3: What's the front-end and back-end?
Ans: I don't know, and I don't care.
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