IBM works on new visualization tools

IBM is bringing Microsoft Windows into the fold of its high-end graphics visualization system, but plans more sophisticated network abilities for its current Linux-based product in 2007.

IBM's Deep Computing Visualization technology, which uses Linux today, will work on Big Blue's Windows workstations as well in December, the company told customers Tuesday. Specifically, IBM will release Windows support for its Remote Visual Networking (RVN) software that lets geographically distant co-workers collaborate by sharing graphical images over an encrypted network connection.

IBM already offers a separate Linux tool called the Scalable Visual Networking (SVN), which lets a cluster of computers collectively render a large image shown with a collection of displays or projectors. That technology can be useful for "immersive" graphics that surround viewers, for example to improve the realism of a flight simulator. SVN for Windows will be available in the first half of 2007, IBM said.

Also in the first half of 2007, IBM plans to introduce an SVN-related technology for Linux, Scalable Parallel Visual Networking (SPVN). SPVN will be more flexible, easier to upgrade and more cost-effective, IBM said.

IBM's push into visualization coincides with the fading of Silicon Graphics, which once specialized in the area but these days prefers to call itself just SGI. " an insignificant portion of our business today," SGI Chief Executive Dennis McKenna said in September.

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