ParaView – vis


"ParaView is an open-source, multi-platform application designed to visualize data sets of varying sizes from small to very large. The goals of the ParaView project include developing an open-source, multi-platform visualization application that supports distributed computational models to process large data sets. It has an open, flexible, and intuitive user interface. Furthermore, ParaView is built on an extensible architecture based on open standards.

ParaView runs on distributed and shared memory parallel as well as single processor systems and has been successfully tested on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, IBM Blue Gene, Cray XT3 and various Unix workstations and clusters. Under the hood, ParaView uses the Visualization Toolkit as the data processing and rendering engine and has a user interface written using the Qt cross-platform application framework." link

Run ParaView

We recommend to use ParaView on JURECA via VNC:

There are other more advanced configurations that can be used for Remote Visualization or separation of services (Data, Rendering, and User Interface).
Each mode separates the three main components (User Interface, Computation, Rendering) in different ways.
More details on possible ParaView scenarios can be found here or here or here (ParaView on Jureca in VNC session).

Build ParaView

Please check the prebuild ParaView before you build your own ParaView.
If anything is missing in the prebuild ParaView let us know.
You can find ParaView

  • as an desktop icon via VNC (profile 'vis').
  • on JURECA as a module (module spider ParaView)

If you want to have your own ParaView you can

Parallel ParaView

If your dataset is large you might be limited by the size of the memory or the cpu performance of a single node.
Executing filters on your data in ParaView might be slow and takes too long or even fails because of memory limitations.
One possible solution can be to run ParaView im parallel across multiple nodes.

How to start ParaView in parallel

First of all, parallel ParaView is only available on vis-compute nodes (not on vis-login nodes).
We recommend the following:

  • Start a VNC session on multiple vis-compute nodes using the login tool 'Strudel' (more details).
  • Start ParaViews 'pvserver' with MPI multiple times on the nodes
    • click the icon 'start PVServers' on the VNC desktop (profile vis).
    • or use a script like this after you loaded the ParaView module (
  • Start ParaView and connect to the pvservers (localhost:11111).

How to use ParaView in parallel

Just starting ParaView in parallel does not result necessarily mean to benefit from the compute resources (cpu and memory) of more than one node.
Even if ParaView distributes the data and work over the compute nodes this might not happen equally.

Two main issues must be considered:

  • Parallel Data Management - the data must be distributed equally across parallel processes to take advantage of resources
  • Parallel Work Management - the work must be distributed equally across parallel processes to take advantage of resources

You have less influence on the 'Parallel Work Management', therefore we only discuss 'Parallel Data Management' for now.

Parallel Data Management

Data must be distributed across parallel processes to take advantage of resources.
This distribution can be accomplished by the reader or the D3 filter afterwards.

  • fully parallel readers
    • Explicit parallel formats use separate files for partitions (.pvti, global.silo)
    • Implicit parallel formats – parallel processes figure out what they need (.vti, brick-f-values)
  • serial readers + included distribute of data
    • first process needs enough memory for entire dataset plus additional space for partitioning
  • fully serial readers
    • all data will end up in first ParaView process
    • you need to distribute data manually using D3 filter
    • attention: D3 filter outputs unstructured grid, which might need more memory

More about parallel file formats can be found here.

Test Parallel Data Mangement
  • Load your data
  • Add filter 'Process Id Scalars'
  • Segments are colored by which process handles them

How to speed-up ParaView even more

In-Situ Visulalization with ParaView Catalyst

ParaView provides a library for in-situ visualization and analysis that is called Catalyst.
"Catalyst is a light-weight version of the ParaView server library that is designed to be directly embedded into parallel simulation codes to perform in situ analysis at run time." link

Ok, what do you have to do:

  • check this webpage html
  • instrument your code
  • link your code with Catalyst
  • start simulation
  • connect with GUI to simulation

(more detailed infos will be added - in the mean time check this link)

ParaView Homepage:
ParaView Wiki:
ParaView Gallery:
ParaView for Scientific Data with Python:

Catalyst Wiki:

Immersive ParaView

ParaView Wiki:
Immersive ParaView at JSC: Immersive ParaView on PiCasso Projection System (zam069)

General Cluster: run ParaView on a general cluster
JUVIS: A sample ParaView session with remote rendering
JUVIS: A sample ParaView session with local rendering

any feedback welcomed - j.goebbert@…, h.zilken@…

Last modified 19 months ago Last modified on 07/11/19 10:23:47

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