Realtime Raytracing on the Cell

In a comment to one of my previous posts, “TimC” asks if the performance of my simple raytracer is “anywhere near realtime”.

At the moment it’s certainly not, although there is definitely the potential for it.

I haven’t spent much effort on optimising the ray tracing algorithm, because I’m more interested in optimising what I’ve got, and the issues I come across that are interesting and different because I’m using the Cell. So at the moment I have no spatial partitioning at all, I just do a brute force raytrace per pixel. Even a simple bounding box would significantly speed up the current implementation, especially for the test scenes I’m using where there’s a lot of empty space.

IBM’s Interactive Ray Tracer

Some IBM guys in the US have been working on a serious raytracer, they call the “Interactive Ray Tracer”, it is seriously impressive. They have a video demo, as well as a cluster version running on three PS3s. From memory their test scene has something like 300,000 triangles, compared to mine which is about 30 or less.

If you have a playstation 3 running Linux you can even download and run it yourself. There’s also a forum if you have trouble getting it going.

Posted by mike on Monday October 29th, 2007, tagged with , , , , | 1 comment

John Warne vs Kevin Booner

Who will it be?! You can decide.

With thanks to Advanced Hair Studio™ and Jo for the link.

Posted by mike on Thursday October 25th, 2007, tagged with , | comments disabled

Was Howard right to snub Kyoto?

There’s an article over at the ABC which the government will no doubt relish, “Australia right to reject Kyoto: British experts”.

The full 2500+ word article at Nature, is actually interesting reading. And although the government will no doubt be shouting from the rooftops “we were right about Kyoto!”, they’d do well to read one other paragraph of the article:

Put public investment in energy R&D on a wartime footing

It seems reasonable to expect the world’s leading economies and emitters to devote as much money to this challenge as they currently spend on military research — in the case of the United States, about $80 billion per year. Such investment would provide a more promising foundation for decarbonization of the global energy system than the current approach.

I can’t find figures for Australia’s military research spending, but apparently our total military spending in 2005 was $13.2 billion. That same report quotes US military spending at $420 billion, so assuming we spend a similar fraction on research as the US, that would give a figure of around $2.5 billion.

Last I heard the government was tossing around 10′s of millions, and that’s for projects, not research. That article refers to a “$500 million federal commitment to climate change projects”, which is nice, but not even in the ballpark the Nature article is talking about. And that’s on top of the governments well established track record of defunding research into solar and other alternatives.

So perhaps Howard was right to reject Kyoto, that’s debatable. What’s not debatable is that Howard has spent 11 years doing far too little on climate change, and no 11′th year epiphany will save Howard from the history books.

Posted by mike on Thursday October 25th, 2007, tagged with , | comments disabled