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In the medical field, volume rendering provides good quality 3D visualizations but it is still not interactive enough for a day-to-day practice. The most efficient sequential algorithm is the Shear-Warp algorithm. It renders up to 10 images per second for a small dataset. The goal of this paper is to present an efficient parallel implementation of the Shear-Warp algorithm for a distributed memory architecture, a cluster of PCs connected with a high speed network. This highly irregular algorithm led us to implement a dynamic load balancing algorithm. Furthermore, to reduce the overhead due to data redistribution, we overlap communications with computations using MPI's asynchronous communications. Using a good load-balancing and communication overlap, our implementation generates real-time 3D medical images with a good quality and a high resolution.
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