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TRaX: A Multi-Threaded Architecture for Real-Time Ray Tracing

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5 Author(s)
Josef Spjut ; School of Computing, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112 ; Solomon Boulos ; Daniel Kopta ; Erik Brunvand
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Ray tracing is a technique used for generating highly realistic computer graphics images. In this paper, we explore the design of a simple but extremely parallel, multi-threaded, multi-core processor architecture that performs real-time ray tracing. Our architecture, called TRaX for Threaded Ray eXecution, consists of a set of thread states that include commonly used functional units for each thread and share large functional units through a programmable interconnect to maximize utilization. The memory system takes advantage of the application's read-only access to the scene database and write-only access to the frame buffer output to provide efficient data delivery with a relatively simple structure. Preliminary results indicate that a multi-core version of the architecture running at a modest speed of 500 MHz already provides real-time ray traced images for scenes of a complexity found in video games. We also explore the architectural impact of a ray tracer that uses procedural (computed) textures rather than image-based (look-up) textures to trade computation for reduced memory bandwidth.

Published in:

Application Specific Processors, 2008. SASP 2008. Symposium on

Date of Conference:

8-9 June 2008