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Divide and conquer: distributed graphics rendering

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Rendering frames in a complex animation can tie up workstations for days or weeks. A two-minute animation at 30 frames per second will typically take over 100 hours to render on a single computer. Sharing the load among hundreds or even thousands of machines dramatically reduces a job’s run time—and the time required to complete a project.

Enter the Distributed Rendering Environment, or DRE, developed at Purdue University five years ago for computer graphics students. It draws on the Purdue Condor pool, a system for sharing unused computing time on more than 20,000 linked processors in computers at Purdue and its partner campuses. This pool is part of both the TeraGrid and the Open Science Grid.


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