cinema toolkit for large data analysis and visualization
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Cinema Toolkit

The Cinema toolkit has been developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory, as part of the Cinema Project.

Cinema is an innovative way of capturing, storing and exploring extreme scale scientific data. It is a highly interactive image-based approach to data analysis and exploration that promotes investigation of large scientific datasets, and is easily integrated into your existing workflows through extensions to widely used open source tools. This novel approach supports interactive exploration of a wide range of results, while still significantly reducing data movement and storage.

Extreme scale scientific simulations are leading a charge to exascale computation, and data analytics runs the risk of being a bottleneck to scientific discovery. Due to power and I/O constraints, we expect in situ visualization and analysis will be a critical component of these workflows. Options for extreme scale data analysis are often presented as a stark contrast: write large files to disk for interactive, exploratory analysis, or perform in situ analysis to save detailed data about phenomena that a scientists knows about in advance. With Cinema, we have developed a novel framework for a third option – a highly interactive, compact and scalable way to explore data.

The Cinema Ecosystem

The Cinema ecosystem consists of database specifications, writers, viewers and algorithms. Among the many use cases for Cinema are two common ones:

  • If you have a scientific dataset, and you'd like to create a Cinema database, you can easily export one using the Cinema writers incorporated into ParaView and VisIt.
  • You can write your own database, using your current data, by referencing one of the database specifications in this repository.

Cinema Open Source releases

All of the Cinema open source code can be found under the cinemascience group at This repository collects the officially released code. Other repositories under the cinemascience organization are considered experimental, and are not supported as production code by the Cinema team, but are viable projects dedicated either to experimental applications, algorithms or viewers.

Cinema Release

Current Release Notes

The Cinema toolkit consists of the following directories and repositories. Version information, test plans and documentation can be found in the individual repositories:

  • specs/, a set of specifications for Cinema databases
  • viewers/
    • cinema_components, a set of components that can be used to build browser-based cinema viewers
    • cinema_explorer, the main browser-based cinema viewer, based on cinema_components
    • cinema_compare, a simple comparison viewer for one or more databases
  • writers/
    • cinema_lib, the cinema python library and cinema command line tool

Submodules in this repository

Please note that this repository contains submodules, so you will have to update those modules after cloning:

git submodule update --init --recursive

Cinema mailing list

Please mail with any questions.


Cinema is a research project managed by the Data Science at Scale Team team at Los Alamos National Laboratory.