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A new physics engine with automatic process distribution between CPU-GPU

Mark Joselli, Esteban Clua, Anselmo Montenegro, Aura Conci, Paulo Pagliosa
Universidade Federal Fluminense
In Sandbox ’08: Proceedings of the 2008 ACM SIGGRAPH symposium on Video games (2008), pp. 149-156

@conference{joselli2008new,

   title={A new physics engine with automatic process distribution between cpu-gpu},

   author={Joselli, M. and Clua, E. and Montenegro, A. and Conci, A. and Pagliosa, P.},

   booktitle={Proceedings of the 2008 ACM SIGGRAPH symposium on Video games},

   pages={149–156},

   year={2008},

   organization={ACM}

}

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The Graphics Processing Units or simply GPUs have evolved into extremely powerful and flexible processors. This flexibility and power have allowed new concepts in general purpose computation to emerge. This paper presents a new architecture for physics engines focusing on the simulation of rigid bodies with some of its methods implemented on the GPU. Sending physics computation to the GPU enables the unloading of the required computations from the CPU, allowing it to process other tasks and optimizations. Another important reason for using the GPU is to allow physics engines to process a higher number of bodies in the simulation. It also presents an automatic process distribution scheme between CPU and GPU. The importance of the automatic distribution for physics simulation arises from the fact that, sometimes, the simulated scene characteristics may change during the simulation and by using an automatic distribution scheme the system may obtain the best performance of both processors (CPU and GPU). Also, with an automatic distribution mode, the developer does not have to decide which processor will do the work allowing the system to choose between CPU and GPU. This paper also presents an uncoupled multithread game loop used by the physics engine.
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