The OptIPlanet Project


The OptIPlanet collabratory is based on the US OptIPuter Project - "A Powerful Distributed Cyberinfrastructure to Support Data-Intensive Scientific Research and Collaboration".  It is NSF's largest single computer science project and is led by the world's premier ICT institute: The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, CAL(IT)-2. While it explores next generation conceptions of a computer, a primary practical benefit is that the project has driven high-end network deployment and performance tuning.

Smarr & Ellisman


A new SAGE based computer display will be constructed and installed at UQ VisLab (co-located with UQ's HPC Unit) that will be one of the highest capacity displays in Australia: 36 Mega-pixels (compared to regular desktops with 1-2 Mpixel). This display will be one of the first OptiPuter portals (OptiPortal) in Australia and will cement for QCIF a growing partnership with CalIT2 and EVL.


The primary objective of this project is to more tightly couple computing, data and display devices by computer networks. This is required because, increasingly, research now involves larger data sets and more intensive computations. A significant obstacle for end users is whole-of-systems performance, which is demonstrably poor. And users need better visualisation interfaces to these larger outputs. Additionally, deployed networks can have high theoretical performance (1 Gbps [Giga bits per sec.]), but routinely are not well tuned so that measured data transfer rates are more typically ~5 Mbps. That would be equivalent to driving on a freeway at 0.5 km/h.

The physical system being built is a tiled LCD display, with associated PC graphics systems and network manager; a simple mechanical frame has been designed to support and align the array of LCD's.


December 10th 2007

The design of the stand is complete.
Materials for the stand, as well as the LCD's and machines to drive them have been ordered.
Display design

January 18th 2008

Most of the equipment has been delivered. The frame, which will hold a 4x4 array of 1920x1200 LCD's, has been constructed and is in position. The DVI cables for the LCD's can be seen runnning into the ceiling to the machine room where the 4 PC's which drive the LCD's are housed.

We're waiting for some special adapter plates to be made before we can actually mount the LCD's onto the frame. In  the meantime we've temporarily connected four of the LCD's on tables and cardboard boxes so that we can begin to run the system and do some testing with the SAGE software (seen here running on a separate control machine in the foreground).
constructed frame
This test shows SAGE being used to display a range of input sources using tools such as VNCViewer and ImageViewer.

The displayed data includes a 1920x1200 remote desktop (which is running an Access Grid session with a high definition video stream), a 3D render tool, two high definintion still images (using the SAGE ImageViewer) and a live movie (using mplayer on a remote machine). The movie features Larry Smarr extolling the virtues of the SAGE and Optiputer technologies.

Our test 4x1 display 7680x1200 pixels is full already. Now we're just waiting for the special adapter plates to be delivered so we can properly mount all the 16 LCD's.

display contents

January 24th 2008
All the panels are mounted and connected now. After some time finding the correct tiling pattern, this is our first successful test of the full display - of course using the obligatory "Atlantis" demo
Using the SAGE user interface to downsize and move Atlantis to one side, we now have space to display additional high resolution static and live imagery.
full display


February 8th 2008
Using the tiled display and SAGE to visualize high definition satellite images. VisLab Team
Fearless leader supporting the project. Bernard

April 2nd 2008
Another row of four LCD's has been added, the resulting 4x5 layout yielding a display of 7680x6000 pixels. The cluster itself has been rebuilt using Rocks 4.3 and now also includes the CGLX (Cluster GLX) environment, being used here to display high definition satellite imagery of northern Queensland. CGLX


Prof. B Pailthorpe, Dr N Bordes,
Dr David Green, C Willing, D Kosovic, J White - UQ
Dr J Young - QUT
J Bell - CQU

International Participants

Prof. Larry Smarr, Prof. Tom DeFanti - CALIT2, UCSD
Dr J Leigh - EVL, UIC