GPU-Based Nonlinear Ray Tracing

Daniel Weiskopf, Tobias Schafhitzel, Thomas Ertl
Institute of Visualization and Interactive Systems, University of Stuttgart
Computer Graphics Forum, Volume 23, Issue 3, pages 625-633, September 2004


   title={GPU-Based Nonlinear Ray Tracing},

   author={Weiskopf, D. and Schafhitzel, T. and Ertl, T.},

   booktitle={Computer graphics forum},






   organization={Wiley Online Library}


In this paper, we present a mapping of nonlinear ray tracing to the GPU which avoids any data transfer back to main memory. The rendering process consists of the following parts: ray setup according to the camera parameters, ray integration, ray-object intersection, and local illumination. Bent rays are approximated by polygonal lines that are represented by textures. Ray integration is based on an iterative numerical solution of ordinary differential equations whose initial values are determined during ray setup. To improve the rendering performance, we propose acceleration techniques such as early ray termination and adaptive ray integration. Finally, we discuss a variety of applications that range from the visualization of dynamical systems to the general relativistic visualization in astrophysics and the rendering of the continuous refraction in media with varying density.
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