Energy Transfer Ray Tracing with OptiX

Scot Halverson
The University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota, 2012


   title={Energy Transfer Ray Tracing with OptiX},

   author={Halverson, S.},



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QUIC Energy is an energy modeling system for urban environments. Our research group has developed QUIC Energy as a part of a set of GPU-assisted tools with a common goal of increasing knowledge relating urban organization and design with environmental concerns. We hypothesize that it is possible to optimize urban organization, building placement, and material selection minimizing building energy consumption for heating and cooling, as well as minimizing air pollution exposure. Our work focuses on the interactions between urban structures and surroundings. Using this information, we are able to investigate potential strategies for optimization along a number of variables. With GPU-assisted computations, we are able to rapidly perform large numbers of simulations for our optimization algorithms. The focus of QUIC Energy is on energy transfer in urban environments. It accounts for radiant energy interactions between buildings, a ground layer, participating media including an atmosphere, airborne particulate, and vegetation, and incoming solar radiation. It is capable of modeling heat conditions for urban environments, including surface and volumetric temperatures. QUIC Energy performs its calculations by means of ray tracing methods implemented using NVIDIA’s OptiX and CUDA frameworks for GPU-assisted computations. GPU based ray tracing allows QUIC Energy to rapidly model heat and energy flow in varied environments under a wide range of conditions. QUIC Energy is part of the Green Environmental Urban Simulations for Sustainability (GEnUSiS) project. The goal behind GEnUSiS is to present a set of tools which can be used to optimize urban infrastructure along a number of environmentally focused variables. GEnUSiS is being used to study the interactions of green infrastructure – including parks, green roofs, and environmentally friendly materials – with urban environments over a wide range of scales.
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