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Significant improvement to visual quality for real-time 3D graphics requires modeling of complex illumination effects like soft-shadows, reflections, and diffuse lighting interactions. The conventional Z-buffer algorithm driven GPU model does not provide sufficient support for this improvement. This paper targets the entire graphics system stack and demonstrates algorithms, a software architecture, and a hardware architecture for real-time rendering with a paradigm shift to ray-tracing. The three unique features of the system called Copernicus are support for dynamic scenes, high image quality, and execution on programmable multicore architectures. The focus of this paper is the synergy and interaction between applications, architecture, and evaluation.
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