The Image Composition Engine for Tiles (IceT) is a high-performance sort-last parallel rendering library. In addition to providing accelerated rendering for a standard display, IceT provides the unique ability to generate images for tiled displays. The overall resolution of the display may be several times larger than any viewport that may be rendered by a single machine.

IceT is currently available for use in large-scale high-performance visualization and graphics applications. It is used in multiple production products like ParaView and VisIt. You can track the development of IceT with the Open Hub project.

Downloads and Documentation

The IceT source code is available under the new BSD license and is available for immediate download. There is also a comprehensive users’ guide to get you up and running.


IceT 2.1.1 Released

January 30, 2012

This patch release fixes a few build problems including issues with MPI 1 and Windows builds. You can get the latest version from the IceT download page.

IceT 2.1.0 Released

August 29, 2011

IceT 2.1 features several efficiency and scalability enhancements including the radix-k compositing algorithm. You can get the latest version from the IceT download page.

IceT Featured in RCE Podcast

August 2010

IceT was featured in a Research, Computing, and Engineering podcast. The interview is available for download at the RCE website:

RCE 38: IceT Image Composition Engine for Tiles

IceT Achieves 1.5 Billion Triangles/Second

March 17, 2005

NVIDIA Coporation, Sandia National Laboratories, and Kitware Inc. announced a breakthrough in large data scientific visualization, attaining rendering rates of over 1.5 billion polygons per second. The breakthrough was achieved with ParaView with parallel rendering performed by IceT.

For more information, see the NVIDIA press release.

The Name

There is some confusion about the correct name for IceT. It is sometimes IceT, sometimes ICE-T, and sometimes some combination thereof, like Ice-T. I officially now call it IceT, but if you like, you can call it whatever.

The history is as follows. I originally used the abbreviation MTIC for Multi-Tile Image Compositor. A colleague of mine insisted that I changed the name as no one would ever remember MTIC. Whatever the name, it should be pronounceable and therefore easy to remember. At the time I thought it was more important for an acronym to spell something meaningful (a view I no longer subscribe to) and thought very hard about some sequence of words that described the software and whose first letters spelled something meaningful.

After a long deliberation, I finally came up with the name Image Composition Engine for Tiles. Not only did it describe the system, but its acronym was synonymous with a popular chilled drink (or a fairly well known rapper/actor). My colleague was right. As soon as the name changed I started to hear other people talk about it by name in conversations and meetings as opposed to "that thing that Ken is working on."

The only issue was that in order to make the pronunciation obvious, I needed to hyphenate the name. Thus, the official name was ICE-T. After all, an appropriate acronym is in all caps, right (another view I no longer subscribe to)? Although most people had no trouble remembering the name, no one paid much attention to the writing (nor could you expect to). Thus, people wrote down whatever they thought makes sense to them. After seeing people write down IceT for years, I decided to finally give up and just write down that instead. I changed all my documentation to reflect that.

I swear, as soon as I made the change, I saw ICE-T from everyone else. Of course, that’s not true. People were just writing whatever they felt like, and they continue to do so.