Efficient MIMD Architectures for High-Performance Ray Tracing

Ray tracing efficiently models complex illumination effects to improve visual realism in computer graphics. Typical modern GPUs use wide SIMD processing, and have achieved impressive performance for a variety of graphics processing including ray tracing. However, SIMD efficiency can be reduced due to the divergent branching and memory access patterns that are common in ray tracing codes. This paper explores an alternative approach using MIMD processing cores custom-designed for ray tracing. By relaxing the requirement that instruction paths be synchronized as in SIMD, caches and less frequently used area expensive functional units may be more effectively shared.

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The University of Tulsa