Visual area networking lets users collaborate

SGI's new OpenGL Vizserver 3.0 software works with high-performance computers and fast networks to let collaborators engage in something SGI calls visual area networking.

Colleagues at desktop PCs or workstations can share images and graphics over existing networks, said Eng Lim Goh, SGI's chief technology officer.

Videoconferences can't convey all the details generated by high-end visualization applications, Goh said. The replication and synchronization of large data sets cause latency problems, and large rendered images take a long time to download.

With visual area networking, images are rendered on a single server, and OpenGL Vizserver compresses and transmits them to remote users. The remote client application decompresses the images and shares mouse control among users across the visual area network.

Compression algorithms
The OpenGL Vizserver application uses SGI's color cell compression and interpolated color cell compression algorithms to compress images by 4:1 up to 32:1. There is less latency than with MPEG and JPEG algorithms, Goh said.

OpenGL Vizserver runs on most SGI servers and workstations, including Onyx 300 and Onyx 3000 systems with InfiniteReality or InfinitePerformance graphics, Onyx2, Octane2 and Fuel.

The client application for OpenGL Vizserver, downloadable free from", runs on desktop systems under SGI Irix, Red Hat Linux, Sun Microsystems Solaris and Microsoft Windows NT, Win 2000 and Win XP. It works over 100Base-T and Gigabit Ethernet networks.

OpenGL Vizserver 3.0 lists for $5,000.

Contact SGI Federal at 301-572-3287.


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