Computational Science Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientists using computers to solve scientific problems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I need to simulate the movement of a large number of agents. The processes that govern the agents' movement are complex and so the entire process requires parallelisation. The output from this simulation needs to be visualised in 3D. As I will be running this simulation across many different nodes (MPI or even MPI+GPGPU) I do not want the simulation to run in real time.

I need a rendering library that:

  • Can render offline
  • Is easy to use
  • Can handle soft body deformation and collision

(i'm not look for awesome AAA video game quality graphics, in addition the movement code will take up enough CPU time so I don't want to further slow the application down by adding heavy weight rendering code)

This problem MUST have been solved before - there's plenty of visualisation in HPC

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Check for paraview (, which is a widly used open source visualization software package for HPC. It should fit all your requirements.

share|improve this answer

Perhaps VisIt is a good fit to your requirements.

share|improve this answer

Both paraview and visit support data formats that allow you to write whatever data you have on each processor of a parallel computation into one file per processor and then later visualize all the files at the same time. For paraview, the collection of files that make up a single time step is the .pvtu file; for visit, the "Getting Data into Visit" manual describes the format of a .visit file. In either case, every processor would produce a .vtk or .vtu file and you would later (offline) visualize the whole bunch.

share|improve this answer
so will I be able to see "little 3D cylinders moving, crashing into each other and deforming? – RRs_Ghost Nov 13 '12 at 13:35
That depends on what you write to your vtk/vtu files. – Wolfgang Bangerth Nov 13 '12 at 14:59

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.