NREL's Insight Center at the Energy Systems Integration Facility combines state-of-the-art data visualization and collaboration tools to promote science and knowledge discovery for energy systems.
Altogether, the Insight Center hosts five graphics servers with Quadro-class GPUs, which are connected to the NREL High-Performance Computing Data Center and a dedicated Insight Center storage system.
The Insight Center features two spaces: the Collaboration Room, a 3D visualization laboratory and workspace; and the Visualization Room, a 2D visualization laboratory.
Collaboration Room: 3D Visualization Laboratory
The Collaboration Room provides multiple workspaces in which researchers and partners from all science and engineering disciplines can interactively visualize highly complex, large-scale data, systems, and operations in real time.
Simulation and Observational Data Analysis
Simulation data may span from the atomistic scale of new materials to the atmospheric boundary scales used in multiturbine array simulations. Observational data span from the nanostructures of biomass pretreatments to the complexity of the North American electrical power grid.
3D Visualization and Interaction Technologies
The Collaboration Room uses a variety of immersive, 3D visualization and interaction technologies that bring these scientific data to the human scale. These technologies include a custom-built, state-of-the-art, tracked stereoscopic immersive virtual environment composed of six projectors that illuminate two surfaces—a wall and a floor—creating a 10-megapixel immersive volume. The use of a 4K, 240-hertz projector allows for a 40-megapixel display, which can track two users simultaneously as they explore data in 3D. In addition, this space includes a suite of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality head-mounted displays and a commercial desktop, VR system display with 3D stylus.
Visualization Room: 2D Visualization Laboratory
The Visualization Room complements the Collaboration Room by boosting the exchange of ideas among NREL researchers and their collaborating partners through a collection of 2D data display paradigms.
Visualization Display Walls
The primary visualization format is a large-scale, 100-megapixel, 2D multitouch display wall. The wall allows for unlimited, simultaneous touches from fingers, hands, pens, and Codice 2D markers. In addition, the room contains a high-definition, multitouch display wall that also allows for unlimited, simultaneous touches.
Large-Scale, High-Resolution Data Simulations
The Visualization Room offers researchers and others the visual real estate to lay out and analyze significant amounts of data for large-scale simulations, ensembles of simulations, and highly detailed visual analytics. This large-scale, high-resolution 2D visual imagery can be used to effectively convey information and illustrate research findings.