SC09 Cluster challenge (VisIt portion):

You will need to do the following:

  1. Build VisIt
  2. Generate a toy data set
  3. Run a script that makes a movie

Hank Childs will be at SC09 and will offer assistance if you run into trouble (hankchilds AT gmail DOT com).

Build VisIt

  • You almost certainly want to use the build_visit script.
    • If you run the GUI version, you will not need any of the optional third party database libraries, so don't select those.
    • Alternatively, you can run: "./build_visit --console" and that should just work.
    • This should build the necessary third party libraries and also VisIt itself (in serial).

It is possible to tell build_visit how to build in parallel, but that sometimes goes wrong. To get the parallel version:

  • cd into the "/path/to/visit/src" directory.
  • run
 env CXXFLAGS="-I/path/to/mpi/include -O2" MPI_LIBS="-L/path/to/mpi/lib -lmpi" ./configure --enable-parallel  # Your MPI libs and paths will likely vary
  • Also see ParallelPorting for more information about building and running VisIt in parallel.

Making a toy data set

We will make a large data set from our toy "noise" data set. We will use the program "visitconvert", which came with VisIt. You can the data set here

  • /path/to/visit/src/bin
  • visitconvert noise.vtk noise BOV -target_chunks 512 -target_zones 8000000000
    • This will create a data set named "noise.bov" with 512 chunks and eight billion zones. If you have more than 512 processors, you should increase "target_chunks".
    • It will take a while to run. You should see noise_%04d.bof.gz files being put in the file system while it runs.
    • Note: I have no idea how big the clusters will be. One billion cells for every 16 cores is probably a good rule of thumb. (So reduce the 8 billion if you have less than 128 cores.)


Hank will post a script by Monday that exercises VisIt on this large data set. This script will generate a movie. Send Hank a note (hankchilds AT gmail DOT com) if you want to be informed the moment the script gets posted.