“Real-Time Ray Tracing and the Reinvention of the Graphics Pipeline”

Matt Pharr


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Date: May 26, 2021


For many years, real-time ray tracing was the technology of the future; in 2008, David Kirk famously quipped that it always would be. There were plenty of reasons to doubt that the approach would be suitable for real-time rendering, many of them firmly believed by the speaker. Yet dedicated hardware for ray tracing has now arrived in recent GPUs. Its greatest successes so far have come from not the direct application of existing offline ray-tracing algorithms to real-time, but instead from the reinvention of fundamental rendering algorithms accounting for the constraints of real-time rendering. In this talk, I will survey the history of real-time ray tracing and some of the near misses along the way. I’ll then discuss how real-time rendering is changing with the capabilities offered by the high-performance and arbitrary visibility queries offered by ray tracing.

Further Information:

Matt Pharr is a Distinguished Research Scientist at NVIDIA where he works on ray-tracing and real-time rendering.  He is the author of the book “Physically Based Rendering: From Theory To Implementation” for which he and the co-authors were awarded a Scientific and Technical Academy Award in 2014 for the book’s impact on the film industry.  He has a Ph.D. in computer science from the Stanford graphics lab and a B.S. in computer science from Yale.

Created: Thursday, May 27th, 2021