Scientific Visualization of Large-Scale, Unstructured Data in Real Time for Faster Discoveries

NVIDIA IndeX for ParaView plug-in scales with datasets for viewing entire simulations in real time.
by Chintan Patel

To help develop better pacemakers, researchers at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center recently developed the world’s first comprehensive heart model.

It’s an amazing achievement, mimicking blood flow and muscle reaction based on the heart’s electrical signals. Nearly as daunting: visualizing and analyzing their huge 54 million tetrahedral-cell model.

When running simulations at scale, supercomputers generate petabytes of data. For scientists, visualizing an entire dataset with high fidelity and interactivity is key to gathering insights. But datasets have grown so vast, that’s become difficult.

scientific visualization of heart using IndeX
Scientific visualization of human heart using IndeX.

Tackling Scientific Visualization in the HPC Era

NVIDIA IndeX packs the performance needed to visualize these compute-heavy jobs. It works on large-scale datasets by distributing workloads across multiple nodes in a GPU-accelerated cluster.

With IndeX, there’s no need throttle back frame rates to visualize and analyze volumetric data. And there’s no need for workarounds like batch rendering that lose interactivity and show data in 2D.

IndeX lets users view their simulation’s entire datasets in real time.

ParaView Users Can Take Advantage of NVIDIA IndeX

Even better, users of ParaView, a popular HPC visualization and data analysis tool, can now take advantage of NVIDIA IndeX through the latest plug-in. ParaView is the “go to” tool for analyzing a wide variety of simulation-based data. It’s supported at all major supercomputing sites.

With IndeX on ParaView, scientists can interact with volume visualizations that scale with structured and unstructured data. This lets them analyze entire datasets in real time.

“High-interactivity visualization of our full dataset is key to gathering meaningful findings,” said Mariano Vazquez, high-performance computational mechanics group manager at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. “The IndeX plug-in enabled us to visualize our 54 million tetrahedral-cell model in real time. Best of all, it fits right inside our existing ParaView workflow.”

Integrating IndeX as a plug-in inside ParaView allows users to take advantage of the powerful features of IndeX without  learning a new tool. In addition, the workflow remains unchanged so users can focus on their research.

NVIDIA IndeX for ParaView Key Features

  • Render structured and unstructured volume data
  • Depth correct mixing with ParaView primitives
  • Delivers high interactivity for large datasets
  • Time-series visualization
  • Scales across multi-GPU, multi-node cluster
  • Open source plug-in for custom versions of ParaView
  • Supports ParaView data formats

IndeX Plug-in for Workstations and HPC Clusters

There are two versions of the plug-in. For usage in a workstation, or single server node, the plug-in is available at no cost. For performance at scale in a GPU-accelerated multi-node system, the Cluster edition of the plug-in is available at no cost to academic users and with a license for commercial users.

Get your plug-in now at

Stop by the NVIDIA booth, H-730, at ISC this week and check out our HPC visualization demo showing real-time interactivity on a large, unstructured volume dataset.