[Public WebGL] WebKit 20-50% slower than Chrome/Minefield using large Float32Array Arrays

Stephen Bannasch [email protected]
Thu Feb 17 18:40:40 PST 2011

At 11:32 AM -0800 2/17/11, Kenneth Russell wrote:
>Cool demo. I'd like to second Steve's suggestion to use the GPU for
>your processing. Check out Evgeny Demidov's simulations at
>http://www.ibiblio.org/e-notes/webgl/gpu/contents.htm , most of which
>use the OES_texture_float extension via WebGL to hold the simulation's
>On Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 6:22 AM, Steve Baker <[email protected]> wrote:
>> If there was ever a job for the GPU, this is it!
>> I've done this kind of thermal simulation in the GPU in the past - and
>> the results were pretty good.  (I used to do simulation of thermal
>> imaging in military IR cameras - and we needed to simulate the thermal
>> consequences of an explosion).
> >

I agree with both of your suggestions and I'd like to re-implement the thermal model and visual display in the GPU to see how fast it is.

My larger goal is to find out how far we can go now creating interactive scientific computational simulations/visualizations for education and exploration.

For example over the last 8 years we've created a number of open-source Java-based computational simulations for scienbce education including a powerful Java application called Molecular Workbench (http://mw.concord.org/modeler/) -- I'm wonderinghow farwe could go in re-implementing something like that in the browser.

An important meta-question:

Do you or others have suggestion for the best environment/s to do this kind of development taking into account that I don'tknowmuch about working in the GPU.

I'm feeling extremely productive working in JavaScript (which I'm basically new at) because of the wonderful debugging facilities built into the browsers. The development environment supports my current practice of making many small experiments and being able to introspect and correct mistakes *very* quickly.

I'm used to languages like Ruby which I can jump into at almost any level when I have a question and use the language rightthere to help me understand the issue.

I've got WebGL Inspector (http://benvanik.github.com/WebGL-Inspector/) which is great compared to working without it installed but compared to the WebKit Inspector it's pretty primitive.

One very simple and annoying problem is that it often seems like doing a page reload leaves content still in the GPU buffers --so I often find myself having to empty the browser cache -- which on Chrome is quite annoying because I can open the dialog onthe Mac with cmd-shift-delete but them I have to use the mouse to click the "Clear browsing data" button.

When learning something new and making productive mistakes as fast as possible this gets old fast ;-)

Are there environments like the browser/inspector combination that I can use while working directly in OpenGL 2.1 to experimentlike this. I presume that as long as I avoid extensions not supported in WebGL I could work directly in OpenGL 2.1 and transfer practices and implementations that worked.

Is there a newer version of Chrome that works on a Mac with better debugging features for doing WebGL?

Right now I'm having trouble debugging regular JavaScript using FireBug with Minefield.
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