Most Virtual Reality systems emplQy some' form of parallel processing, making use of multiple processors which are often distrIbuted over large areas geographically, and which communicate via various forms of message passing. The approaches to parallel decomposition differ for each system, as do the performance implications of each approach. Previous comparisons have only identified and categorized the different approaches. None have examined the performance issues involved in the different parallel decompositions. Performance measurement for a Virtual Reality system differs from that of other parallel systems in that some measure of the delays involved with the interaction of the separate c~mponents is required, in addition to the measure of the throughput of the system. Existing performance analysis approaches are typically not well suited to providing both these measures. This thesis describes the development of a performance analysis technique that is able to provide measures of both interaction latency and cycle time for a model of a Virtual Reality system. This technique allows performcLllce measures to be generated as symbolic expressions describing the relationships between the delays in the model. It automatically generates constraint regions, specifying the values of the system parameters for which performance characteristics change. The performance analysis technique shows strong agreement with values measured from implementation of three common decomposition strategies on two message passing architectures. The technique is successfully applied to a range of parallel decomposition strategies found in Parallel and Distributed Virtual Reality systems. For each system, the primary decomposition techniques are isolated and analysed to determine their performance characteristics. This analysis allows a comparison of the various decomposition techniques, and in many cases reveals trends in their behaviour that would have gone unnoticed with alternative analysis techniques. The work described in this thesis supports the Performance Analysis and Comparison of Parallel and Distributed Virtual Reality systems. In addition it acts as a reference, describing the performance characteristics of decomposition strategies used in Virtual Reality systems.
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