Published in Wu, Q., & Zhu, M.,, Gu, Y., & Rao, N. S. V. (2010). System Design and Algorithmic Development for Computational Steering in Distributed Environments. IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, 21(4). doi: 10.1109/TPDS.2009.81 ©2010 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE. This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.


Supporting visualization pipelines over wide-area networks is critical to enabling large-scale scientific applications that require visual feedback to interactively steer online computations. We propose a remote computational steering system that employs analytical models to estimate the cost of computing and communication components and optimizes the overall system performance in distributed environments with heterogeneous resources. We formulate and categorize the visualization pipeline configuration problems for maximum frame rate into three classes according to the constraints on node reuse or resource sharing, namely no, contiguous, and arbitrary reuse. We prove all three problems to be NP-complete and present heuristic approaches based on a dynamic programming strategy. The superior performance of the proposed solution is demonstrated with extensive simulation results in comparison with existing algorithms and is further evidenced by experimental results collected on a prototype implementation deployed over the Internet.