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San Francisco to Hong Kong in 5 minutes


This is a followon article to CheapFlights, and while the metaphor may be showing stress cracks, please bear with me. In the previous article we made the most of a single threaded, and hence single core program by taking advantage of the embarrassingly parallel nature of moving the camera. The time taken to render any given frame, however, was completely unchanged. To break the 15 minutes barrier (for this particular scene file) we need to employee an HPC specific technology - MPI. MPI stands for Message Passing Interface and is typically used as a library to a compiled language (C/C++/Fortran) or an interpreted language such as Python. In this example we will explore a parallel raytracer called Tachyon which uses MPI as one of the available parallel options.

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