Program 2017


High-Performance Computing for Artistic Content Creation

Annekatrin Baumann (HLRS), Dr. Ari Harjunmaa (Filmakademie), David Körner (Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart)

We will start with a general introduction to High-Performance Computing (HPC) in order to distinguish it from cloud computing. With this relevant knowledge explained, we will present the Media Solution Center BW, which is a project initiated by the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg to contribute to the technology transfer in the cross section of research institutions and creative industries. The general aims of the the project are to find new, innovative, and technologically oriented solutions for computationally intensive work steps in the production of different kinds of media.

Within the scope of this project, we look at how to incorporate open-source programs onto a HPC system, thus avoiding licensing issues when using a high number of nodes. The second part of the talk discusses an application for performing HPC fluid simulations at high speeds and/or resolutions. For the content creation platform, we use Blender, into which we introduce a Python add-on to bypass its native fluid simulation engine; instead, the simulations are then performed on the HPC system using Palabos, an engineering-grade and massively parallelizable fluid simulation tool.

In the third part of the talk, we will present challenges and potential gains when using the HPC cluster as a backend for interactive remote path tracing. We will examine the scenario of lighting a scene interactively, using a remote desktop machine. Different parts of our prototype architecture will be presented, such as the browser front-end, network communication, and the rendering backend, which is based on OSPray, Intel’s new open-source HPC rendering engine.

Annekatrin Baumann

Annekatrin Baumann , Project coordinator, High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart,

Annekatrin Baumann is the project coordinator of the Media Solution Center BW and works at the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart. Thereby she follows her interest in the intersection of technology and creative content, which was also the emphasis of her studies of Electronic Media at Stuttgart Media University.

Prior to her contact with the world of Supercomputers, she was involved in the production of several TV studio shows with a focus on live broadcast graphic design.

The High Performance Computing Center was established in 1996 as the first national German High Performance Computing (HPC) center. It is a research and service institution affiliated to the University of Stuttgart offering services to academic users and industry.

HLRS focuses on

  • The operation of leading edge HPC systems
  • Teaching and Training for HPC programming and simulation
  • Research in the field of HPC together with national and international partners

Over the last 20 years HLRS has built up world-leading expertise in supporting and training end-users, from a variety of application fields with a focus on engineering. HLRS has built expertise in fields like parallel programming, numerical methods for HPC, visualization, Grid and Cloud concepts, and Big Data.


Dr. Ari Harjunmaa

Dr. Ari Harjunmaa , Computer Scientist, Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg

A computational physicist, Dr. Ari Harjunmaa received his PhD in 2011 in the field of physical simulations of atomistic systems at the University of Helsinki, Finland. After eight years' simulation experience from graduate and postdoctoral projects in Helsinki and at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, he presently continues simulating at the Animationsinstitut of the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. His current work entails artistic fluid simulations within the scope of the project "Media Solution Center", a collaboration between a number of local partners such as e.g. the High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS).

David Körner

David Körner , Research Assistant, Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart,

As part of the Media Solution Center Project, David Körner is working on topics related to rendering at the HPC cluster of the High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart. Since 2012, he is part of the PhD program Digital Media at the Stuttgart Media University, where he is conducting research on advanced methods in light transport simulation. His application-oriented research has been accompanied by research visits at Disney Research, Zürich and Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, CA. Before he started his PhD, he worked as R&D developer at The Moving Picture Company, London. David holds a degree in Media Computer Science, which he received at the University of Technology, Dresden.

Stuttgart Media University is a public university of applied sciences. It prepares specialists and generalists for work in today’s world of media. Students learn in modern lecture theatres as well as in workshops and studios, at printing machines or behind the camera. Exciting practical projects in the University’s laboratories or in cooperation with partner companies complement theoretical knowledge and scientific working methods. The “Bachelor of Engineering in Audiovisual Media“ is a program that combines both theory and practice, providing students with a strong understanding of media concepts as well as a thorough exposure to media production processes and craft. Students apply this knowledge by producing their own ideas in the areas of film, video and television, sound, computer animation, interactive media and event media. The quality and creativity of their work is regularly recognized by nominations and awards at national and international festivals.


FMX is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the City of Stuttgart and MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg. taking place in cooperation with ACM Siggraph. FMX is an event by the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, organized by Animationsinstitut, hosting the Animation Production Days (APD), a joint venture with the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS).

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