MergeTree: A Fast Hardware HLBVH Constructor for Animated Ray Tracing

Timo Viitanen, Matias Koskela, Pekka Jääskeläinen, Heikki Kultala, Jarmo Takala

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    2 Citations (Scopus)
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    Ray tracing is a computationally intensive rendering technique traditionally used in offline high-quality rendering. Powerful hardware accelerators have been recently developed that put real-time ray tracing even in the reach of mobile devices. However, rendering animated scenes remains difficult, as updating the acceleration trees for each frame is a memory-intensive process. This article proposes MergeTree, the first hardware architecture for Hierarchical Linear Bounding Volume Hierarchy (HLBVH) construction, designed to minimize memory traffic. For evaluation, the hardware constructor is synthesized on a 28nm process technology. Compared to a state-of-the-art binned surface area heuristic sweep (SAH) builder, the present work speeds up construction by a factor of 5, reduces build energy by a factor of 3.2, and memory traffic by a factor of 3. A software HLBVH builder on a graphics processing unit (GPU) requires 3.3 times more memory traffic. To take tree quality into account, a rendering accelerator is modeled alongside the builder. Given the use of a toplevel build to improve tree quality, the proposed builder reduces system energy per frame by an average 41% with primary rays and 13% with diffuse rays. In large ( > 500K triangles) scenes, the difference is more pronounced, 62% and 35%, respectively.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number169
    Number of pages14
    JournalACM Transactions on Graphics
    Issue number5
    Early online date12 Oct 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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