Title: Interactive Realistic Rendering on Massively Parallel Computer Systems
Name: Valentin Fuetterling
Realistic rendering is a key technology for simulation, analysis and design in engineering. The recent push for virtual and augmented reality is expected to augment and transform production processes as well, strongly increasing the demand for synthetic images generated and displayed instantaneously by computer systems. To achieve the resolution and color fidelity necessary for an immersive experience and a realistic appearance of such artificial imaginary an enormous amount of calculations is required every second during an interactive sequence. Current rendering systems exhibit several technical limitations constraining speed, quality and generality of image generation, prohibiting many useful applications. Accordingly, this project focuses on the acceleration of the rendering process by research in algorithms and implementation.
Modern computer systems offer an ever increasing amount of parallel computing capabilities while execution frequencies have plateaued due to physical constraints. This project aims to design massively parallel rendering algorithms efficiently exploiting the available parallelism from vector instructions and parallel execution threads in shared and distributed memory architectures. Profound restructuring and modification of existing algorithms and implementations together with modern communication paradigms will enable an efficient mapping to parallel hardware in order to achieve the scalability necessary for realistic interactive rendering. The novel algorithms are based on the ray tracing method.
Since the rendering algorithms will be scalable a sufficient number of interconnected machines will enable the interactive display of complex scenery with convincing quality at interactive frame rates. The additional focus on parallelism available from a single machine will keep this number in check and will allow to profit from the increasing width of future hardware architectures.
The original (but incomplete) Boeing 777 CAD model, rendered by the algorithms developed within this project at interactive frame rates with iterative refinement on a single workstation. Scaling the system to multiple interconnected workstations will accelerate the refinement to the point where it appears instantaneous and enable an immersive experience.
CAD model provided by the Boeing Company.