Chapter 1 introduces the need for rapid solutions of hidden surface elimination (HSE)
problems in the interactive display of objects and scenes, as used in many application areas
such as flight and driving simulators and CAD systems. It reviews the existing approaches
to high-performance computer graphics and to parallel computing. It then introduces the
central tenet of this thesis: that general purpose parallel computers may be usefully applied
to the solution of HSE problems. Finally it introduces a set of metrics for describing sets of
scene data, and applies them to the test scenes used in this thesis.
Chapter 2 describes variants of several common image space hidden surface elimination
algorithms, which solve the HSE problem for scenes described as collections of polygons.
Implementations of these HSE algorithms on a traditional, serial, single microprocessor
computer are introduced and theoretical estimates of their performance are derived. The
algorithms are compared under identical conditions for various sets of test data. The results
of this comparison are then placed in context with existing historical results.
Chapter 3 examines the application of MIMD style parallelism to accelerate the solution of
HSE problems. MIMD parallel implementations of the previously considered HSE
algorithms are introduced. Their behaviour under various system configurations and for
various data sets is investigated and compared with theoretical estimates. The theoretical
estimates are found to match closely the experimental findings.
Chapter 4 summarises the conclusions of this thesis, finding that HSE algorithms can be
implemented to use an MIMD parallel computer effectively, and that of the HSE algorithms
examined the z-buffer algorithm generally proves to be a good compromise solution.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy at Loughborough University.