Nvidia GPUs Accelerate Ray Tracing
July 26, 2010

Nvidia GPUs Accelerate Ray Tracing

SIGGRAPH attendees can witness Nvidia graphics processing units (GPUs) accelerating ray tracing solutions throughout SIGGRAPH 2010. Ray tracing has long been employed in computer graphics to generate images with tremendous accuracy and realism; yet, it requires far more computation than alternative raster rendering approaches, and historically has been a far slower process. Nvidia GPUs are accelerating the ray tracing solutions being shown at this year’s SIGGRAPH exhibition, illustrating that this limitation has been shattered, says a company spokesperson. In fact, reveals a representative, Nvidia’s newest GPUs based upon its Fermi architecture are driving ray traced applications orders of magnitude faster than quad-core CPUs.
“What used to be an excuse for a coffee break is now a real-time experience when running on Nvidia’s newest GPUs,” says Jeff Brown, general manager of the Professional Solutions Group at Nvidia. “The speed up is truly transformative for our customers – giving them interactive insight and dramatically enhancing their creative process in ways that have not been possible on individual workstations before.”

The massively parallel processing power of Nvidia GPUs is a natural fit for the inherently parallel nature of ray tracing, with the Nvidia CUDA architecture enabling software developers to develop high-performance solutions in their choice of compute languages. Nvidia also provides the Nvidia OptiX ray tracing engine for accelerating custom solutions, and iray from mental images for a complete renderer.

Companies demonstrating ray tracing solutions running on Nvidia GPUs at SIGGRAPH include:
- mental images, showing iray interactive rendering, using CUDA C, at the Nvidia booth (#717)
- Nvidia, showing OptiX interactive examples, using CUDA C, at the Nvidia booth
- Bunkspeed, showing SHOT with interactive iray, at the Nvidia booth
- Lightworks, showing Artisan, using CUDA C and OptiX, at the Lightworks booth (#225)
- Works Zebra, showing Zeany, using CUDA C and OptiX, at the Nvidia booth
- cebas Visual Technology Inc., showing Final Render, using CUDA C, at the cebas booth (#314)
- Refractive Software, showing the Octane Renderer, using CUDA C, at the Cubix Corp. booth (#1126)
- Chaos Software Ltd., showing V-Ray GPU, using OpenCL, at the Chaos booth (#313)

At SIGGRAPH 2010, Nvidia is presenting two technical papers: “OptiX: A General Purpose Ray Tracing Engine,” and “PantaRay: Directional Occlusion for Fast Cinematic Lighting of Massive Scenes.” Nvidia is also sponsoring a developer session, “Rapid GPU Ray Tracing Development with Nvidia OptiX.” Nvidia encourages attendees to attend any or all of these, where they can learn how to use GPU-based ray tracing.