We have presented a new data structure, the cache-ring, and an augmented Marching Cubes algorithm for the construction of topologically correct surfaces. The details of the algorithm and the data structure implementation are not the points of relevance here. Rather, the primary reason for this paper has been to emphasize the importance of memory-conscious algorithms. By re-engineering our program so it maps to the underlying hardware, we have partially alleviated the bottleneck of accessing memory during isosurface construction.

As we continue to develop new and improved isosurface extraction methods, we believe it is important to keep abreast of the simultaneous shifts evolving in computational hardware development. The performance bottleneck in modern architectures has shifted from computation to memory accesses. This bottleneck becomes even more pronounced in the case of parallel architectures, where data can be distributed among multiple CPU's. As the bottleneck shifts, algorithm development must shift as well, if methods are to remain optimal in practice. The cache-ring data structure is an example of updating a method to follow the underlying hardware's bottleneck shift. Rather than suffer performance degradations with the random data accesses of existent codes, we have developed an augmented algorithm and data structure to alleviate memory-induced stalls.

Scientific Computing and Imaging