Session G358 - Making Movies: Animation of Large Scale Computations

SHARE 69
August 23-28, 1987


A chemist from IBM talked about a graphics system they built to display models of large molecules. This probably doesn't have much applicability to my employer, but I try to stay current in new graphics development. Once upon a time I wrote a program in Apple Pascal to rotate wire-frame models in three-space, and I wanted to see what IBM could do with a 3090 that I couldn't do with an Apple II.

Wow! It helps to be able to crunch many numbers simultaneously. They showed a videotape in which they hydrated a large double-helixed DNA molecule. They were doing hidden-surface processing, reflections, refractions, multiple light sources and LOTS of hairy mathematics.

For the record, they were building images on a 3090 under VM, then sending them to a PC-AT through a 3270 emulator card running a file-server program. The AT contained a high-resolution RGB display card, which in turn was connected to an RF modulator, which fed a stock VCR, which was under program control. It wasn't very pretty, but it got the job done, and the results were spectacular.


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