Cluster Juggler - PC cluster virtual reality

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2002-01-01
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Olson, Eric
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Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) contains two focuses. The focus on Electrical Engineering teaches students in the fields of control systems, electromagnetics and non-destructive evaluation, microelectronics, electric power & energy systems, and the like. The Computer Engineering focus teaches in the fields of software systems, embedded systems, networking, information security, computer architecture, etc.

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The Department of Electrical Engineering was formed in 1909 from the division of the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering. In 1985 its name changed to Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. In 1995 it became the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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1909-present

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  • Department of Electrical Engineering (1909-1985)
  • Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering (1985-1995)

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Interactive computer graphics are being used as a routine tool in many disciplines, and there is a growing demand to move these interactive tools into immersive environments as technology advances. Immersive environments (or virtual reality) require highly specialized equipment and skilled technical people to develop the applications and operate the systems. These requirements prevent the widespread acceptance of visual reality in research and industrial communities. Our work aims to bring virtual reality to a level that allows these groups with basic technical computer skills and limited resources to use this technology. To reach this goal, this work focuses on taking advantage of recent advances in commodity hardware and low-end graphics systems to create a development framework for virtual reality applications. To achieve this, we have designed a software system that enables a cluster of PCs or low-end workstations to replace a large shared-memory computer as the driving system for complex virtual reality environments. This software system, Cluster Juggler, is implemented as an extension to the virtual reality software VR Juggler. We have tested our software on a cluster VR system to ensure the performance is adequate for running VR applications. Using actual VR applications, we compared the performance of our cluster system with the performance of a VR system driven by a specialized shared-memory computer and found comparable results between the two. With Cluster Juggler we provide the ability for developers with basic technical experience to develop and run virtual reality applications on commodity hardware. In doing so, we aim to make virtual reality more accessible and affordable to all areas of research. I

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Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2002