Biowulf High Performance Computing at the NIH
POVRay on Biowulf

POV-Ray is a high-quality tool for creating three-dimensional graphics. Raytraced images are publication-quality and 'photo-realistic', but are computationally expensive so that large images can take many hours to create. POV-Ray images can also require more memory than many desktop machines can handle. To address these concerns, a parallelized version of POV-Ray has been installed on Biowulf.

POV-Ray output is limited to only .png, .tga, or .ppm image formats. There are number of programs which can convert images from one format to another available on Helix Systems (e.g., convert, gimp, imagemagick, xnview).

Important Notes

By default, POV-Ray attempts to display the image as it is being rendered to the screen. This feature requires an X-Windows connection. To disable the display, you must include -D in the POV-Ray command line.

Interactive job
Interactive jobs should be used for debugging, graphics, or applications that cannot be run as batch jobs.

Allocate an interactive session and run the program.
Sample session (user input in bold):

[user@biowulf]$ sinteractive --cpus-per-task=16 --threads-per-core=1
salloc.exe: Pending job allocation 46116226
salloc.exe: job 46116226 queued and waiting for resources
salloc.exe: job 46116226 has been allocated resources
salloc.exe: Granted job allocation 46116226
salloc.exe: Waiting for resource configuration
salloc.exe: Nodes cn3144 are ready for job

[user@cn3144 ~]$ cp $POVRAY_EXAMPLES/1asy.pov .
[user@cn3144 ~]$ povray +H542 +W456 -I1asy.pov -O1asy.pov.tga +P +X +A +FT +C -D +wt${SLURM_CPUS_PER_TASK}
Render Time:
  Photon Time:      No photons
  Radiosity Time:   No radiosity
  Trace Time:       0 hours  0 minutes  0 seconds (0.349 seconds)
              using 30 thread(s) with 8.276 CPU-seconds total
POV-Ray finished

Once the image render is completed, convert the file into a JPEG and then display it via X11:

[user@cn3144 ~]$ convert 1asy.pov.tga 1asy.jpg
[user@cn3144 ~]$ display 1asy.jpg
[user@cn3144 ~]$ exit
salloc.exe: Relinquishing job allocation 46116226
[user@biowulf ~]$

1asy image

Batch job
Most jobs should be run as batch jobs.

Create a batch input file (e.g. For example:

module load POVRay
povray +H1125 +W858 -Iag9.pov -O1ag9.pov.tga +P +X +A +FT +C +wt${SLURM_CPUS_PER_TASK}
povray +H2170 +W1826 -I1asy.pov -O1asy.pov.tga +P +A +FT +wt${SLURM_CPUS_PER_TASK}

Submit this job using the Slurm sbatch command. --threads-per-core=1 disables hyperthreading on the node.

sbatch [--cpus-per-task=#] [--mem=#] --threads-per-core=1