CS 851-2: Interactive Ray Tracing

Time: Wed 3 PM, Fri 12:30 PM 
Place: TBD
Instructor: David Luebke (Olsson #219), luebke@cs.virginia.edu
Office hours: by appointment
Assignments: One end-of-semester course project, details to follow
Format: Paper-reading seminar; students and instructor take turns presenting papers.
Description: Ray tracing has long been known as an elegant and powerful, but very slow, technique for producing realistic imagery. Over time, however, the concept of ray tracing at interactive rates has gone from an oxymoron at best, or a bad joke at worst, to an accepted reality. Today one can ray trace complex scenes at near-real time rates on a desktop PC or even a commodity video card. In this seminar we will explore the literature of this very young branch of computer graphics. We will discuss the "how" of interactive ray tracing: the developments in hardware and algorithms that have made this possible. We will also address the more important question of "why": what, if anything, does interactive ray tracing offer over the extremely sophisticated and powerful polygonal rendering hardware that has been developed over the past twenty years? What novel rendering strategies does real-time ray tracing enable over what was previously possible? Can ray tracing usefully augment production real-time rendering systems such as games?

The seminar will emphasize the systems issues of making ray tracing fast and the rendering/perceptual issues of how to use ray tracing in novel ways, rather than the underlying mathematics of generating realistic images. Students should have experience with computer graphics and systems programming. The seminar workload will be fairly light (there are not THAT many papers to study yet), but students will be expected to do a programming project. As the field is so young, a good class project could well lead to a publishable result.

Lectures: A tentative schedule of follows.  I will also try to post any electronic notes or presentation source.
Number Date Topic Presenter Food
1 1/15

Introduction, Administration

2 1/21 Ray tracing fundamentals I:
attend Greg Humphrey's Image Synthesis class,
MEC 339, 3:30 PM
3 1/23 Ray tracing fundamentals II:
attend Greg Humphrey's Image Synthesis class,
MEC 339, 3:30 PM
3 1/29 Interactive Ray Tracing - Utah paper Cliff/Dale  
4 1/31 STAR - German paper Dale Cliff & Nolan - Subway
5 2/5 Render Cache John
6 2/7 Interruptible rendering Cliff Andy Snyder - Pizza
7 2/12      
8 2/14    
9 2/19    
10 2/21    
11 2/26    
12 2/28
13 3/12      
14 3/14      
15 3/19      
16 3/21      
17 3/26      
18 3/28      
19 4/2      
20 4/4      
21 4/9      
22 4/11      
23 4/16      
24 4/18      
25 4/23      
26 4/25    
Honor Code: The honor code applies to all work turned in for this course.  Specific guidelines will be given.  Ask if you have questions.