SAGE is a graphics streaming architecture that enables users to interactively access, display and share a variety of data-intensive information, in a variety of resolutions and formats, from multiple sources, with the same ease that the Web affords for accessing lower-resolution objects today. This requires 21st-century “personal computers;” that is, tiled display walls driven by computer clusters and interconnected over multi-gigabit optical networks. In 2004, EVL built LambdaVision, an 11×5 tiled display wall with 105-Megapixel resolution, and began developing SAGE.
SAGE is cross-platform, open-source middleware that enables users worldwide to have a common operating environment, or framework, to access, stream and juxtapose data objects — whether digital cinema animations, high-resolution images, high-definition video-teleconferencing, presentation slides, documents, spreadsheets or laptop screens — on one or more tiled display walls. SAGE and tiled display walls are creating a global collaborative visualization environment that allows virtual teams of researchers to manage the scale and complexity of their data and work with one another.
Today’s scientists tackle issues of global priority, such as the environment, geoscience, bioscience, disaster response, and the physical nature of the universe, to name a few. Scientists need the ability to view ultra-resolution images and/or create “cyber-mashups,” or juxtapositions of information – a critical component of data analysis – in order to gain more holistic views and insight regarding complex issues, and make more informed observations and discoveries. For example, geoscientists study aerial and satellite maps (e.g., 365K x 365K pixels) and neurobiologists study electron microscope images (e.g., 4K x 4K pixels).
In our vision of the future, as illustrated below, SAGE assumes that displays will be cheap enough to “wallpaper” entire rooms, and that the bandwidth needed to drive them will become even cheaper. Future situation rooms and research laboratories will have walls made of seamless ultra-high-resolution displays fed by data streamed over optical networks from distantly located visualization clusters, storage servers, and high-definition video cameras.