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KD-tree acceleration structures for a GPU raytracer

Tim Foley, Jeremy Sugerman
Stanford University
Proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH/EUROGRAPHICS conference on Graphics hardware, HWWS ’05

@conference{foley2005kd,

   title={KD-tree acceleration structures for a GPU raytracer},

   author={Foley, T. and Sugerman, J.},

   booktitle={Proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH/EUROGRAPHICS conference on Graphics hardware},

   pages={15–22},

   isbn={1595930868},

   year={2005},

   organization={ACM}

}

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Modern graphics hardware architectures excel at compute-intensive tasks such as ray-triangle intersection, making them attractive target platforms for raytracing. To date, most GPU-based raytracers have relied upon uniform grid acceleration structures. In contrast, the kd-tree has gained widespread use in CPU-based raytracers and is regarded as the best general-purpose acceleration structure. We demonstrate two kd-tree traversal algorithms suitable for GPU implementation and integrate them into a streaming raytracer. We show that for scenes with many objects at different scales, our kd-tree algorithms are up to 8 times faster than a uniform grid. In addition, we identify load balancing and input data recirculation as two fundamental sources of inefficiency when raytracing on current graphics hardware.
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