Hornet, the Supercomputer working with ART Tracking

At the University of Stuttgart (HLRS) you can find one of the world’s largest computers covering the most immersive VR applications

©HLRS, University of Stuttgart

General information

From crashtest to climate simulation: “Hornet” helps researchers to create scenarios – and to make the right decisions.

At the University of Stuttgart’s HLRS (Höchstleistungsrechenzentrum Stuttgart) building, researchers can step into a room less than 3 meters wide and travel through a running coal power plant, lift a car above their heads, stand in the middle of hemoglobin proteins, or travel alongside a water line buried deep underground in the Black Forest.
The building features the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE). The CAVE gives researchers a fully immersive, 3-D simulation environment to analyze and discuss their computations.

“Most of our simulations are 3-D, and hardly any simulations use 2-D anymore”, says Uwe Wössner, group lead of the visualization team at HLRS. “All biological systems, technical systems, and climate phenomena are 3-D in nature, and now that we have the computational resources, we can simulate them in 3-D as well.”

The requirements for simulations increased considerably within the last years, and so did the capacities of the required computers. The latest model installed, the “Hornet Supercomputer” performs 3.8 trillion computing operations per second and belongs to the 16 largest computers in the world.

ART tracking solution

The CAVE projects visualizations on five surfaces, allowing teams of researchers to step inside their simulations. Using a special mouse or 3-D glasses, researchers can orient the images so they appear naturally to the human eye. The technology for the CAVE spans three floors. The five single-chip DLP projectors each send a respective right and left image, creating an accurate rendering for the human eye, and offer a resolution of 1920 by 1200 pixels. Four ART TRACKPACK/C cameras at the corners of the ceiling track the users’ glasses and input device (ART’s Flystick2) to keep virtual environments in control of researchers.  A 22-node Sandybridge cluster with NVIDIA Quadro graphics processing units and a QDR Infiniband interconnect powers the CAVE.

Why ART?

"After trying out tracking systems from different vendors we are now using ART Tracking systems for all of our virtual reality environments ranging from SMARTTRACKs and ARTTRACK2 cameras for our mobile VR Wall to TRACKPACKs for our tiled display and CAVE. We chose ART tracking systems because of their reliability, accuracy and ease of calibration. "

Set up:

  • 5 x DLP projector with 1920 x 1200 pixels
  • 2 x TRACKPACK tracking camera
  • 2 x TRACKPACK/C tracking camera
  • COVISE / OpenCOVER software
  • ART Headtracking, tracking of input devices and tracking of physical mockups in the CAVE.