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Applications such as robot navigation and augmented reality require high-accuracy dense disparity maps in real-time and online. Due to time constraint, most realtime stereo applications rely on local winner-take-all optimization in the disparity computation process. These local approaches are generally outperformed by offline global optimization based algorithms. However, recent research shows that, through carefully selecting and aggregating the matching costs of neighboring pixels, the disparity maps produced by a local approach can be more accurate than those generated by many global optimization techniques. We are therefore motivated to investigate whether these cost aggregation approaches can be adopted in real-time stereo applications and, if so, how well they perform under the real-time constraint. The evaluation is conducted on a real-time stereo platform, which utilizes the processing power of programmable graphics hardware. Several recent cost aggregation approaches are also implemented and optimized for graphics hardware so that real-time speed can be achieved. The performances of these aggregation approaches in terms of both processing speed and result quality are reported.