The Department of Energy (DOE) again recognized the value of Intelligent Light’s efforts to support innovation by awarding us a Phase IIB SBIR follow-on grant to continue promising R&D on integrating FieldView and VisIt. This brings the total to $2 million that has been committed to enable FieldView to use VisIt’s scalable back end server. Bringing FieldView and VisIt together will empower FieldView users across many disciplines to gain useful insights from the largest datasets generated on the largest computers. The FieldView-VisIt integration extends FieldView’s power into the High Performance Computing (HPC) regime and brings to bear exciting technologies from VisIt such as scalable rendering. Intelligent Light’s success during the Phase II SBIR grant has translated into useful improvements to the VisIt code today and there is more to come during the Phase IIB.
Whereas prior work on FieldView-VisIt integration focused on initial coupling techniques that allow the codes to exchange data, the new work seeks to address performance of the coupling as well as the performance of VisIt itself. In the early days of VisIt development at LLNL, we had a lot of pressure to add features as opposed to making those features work with the utmost efficiency. This means that there are a lot of places where VisIt can be sped up considerably and otherwise improved.
Performance improvements are one of the main objectives in the new work. Some of that performance will come from better utilization of parallel resources. For instance, processing an ensemble of datasets or multiple time steps can be achieved through changes in how VisIt handles the data. We plan to make changes to VisIt’s core infrastructure that enable it to process multiple datasets simultaneously in parallel so we can use more compute cores to handle a lot of intermediate sized data. These large modifications will be challenging but we know that the DOE selected Intelligent Light for our ability to carry out demanding work like this, which will benefit the larger VisIt community.
On a personal note, this will be my first time as Principal Investigator on a project of this scale. I have been a VisIt developer from the start and a figure in the VisIt community so this is a great chance for me to continue making important contributions to a code I am passionate about.