Energy-Efficient Interactive Ray Tracing of Static Scenes on Programmable Mobile GPUs


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Mobile technology is improving in quality and capability faster now than ever before. When first introduced, cell phones were strictly used to make voice calls; now, they play satellite radio, MP3s, streaming television, have GPS and navigation capabilities, and have multi-megapixel video cameras. In the near future, cell phones will have programmable graphics processing units (GPU) that will allow users to play games similar to those currently available for top-of-the-line game consoles. Personal digital assistants enable users with full email, scheduling, and internet browsing capabilities in addition to those features offered on cell phones. Underlying all this mobile technology and entertainment is a battery whose technology has just barely tripled in the past 15 years, compared to available disk capacity that has increased over 1,000-fold. Ray tracing is a rendering technique used to generate photorealistic images that include reflections, refraction, participating media, and can fairly easily be extended to include photon mapping for indirect illumination and caustics. In recent years, ray tracing has been implemented on the GPU using various acceleration structures to facilitate rendering. Until now, all studies have used build time and achievable frame rates to determine which acceleration structure is best for ray tracing. We present the very first results comparing both CPU and GPU raytracing using various acceleration structures in terms of energy consumption. By exploring per-pixel costs, we provide insight on the energy consumption and frame rates that can be experienced on cell phones and other mobile devices based on currently available screen resolutions. Our results show that the choice in processing unit has the greatest affect on energy and time costs of ray tracing, followed by the size of the viewport used, and the choice of acceleration structure has the least impact on efficiency. For mobile devices enabled with a programmable GPU, whether it is a cell phone, PDA, or laptop computer, a bounding volume hierarchy implemented on the GPU is the most energy-efficient acceleration structure for ray tracing. Ray tracing on cellular phones with smaller screen resolutions is most energy-efficient using a CPU-based Kd-Tree implementation.

  • English
  • etd-011107-010338
Defense date
  • 2007
Date created
  • 2007-01-11
Resource type
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Last modified
  • 2021-01-04


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