Ray Tracing

Ray tracing is widely used in image processing applications, such as the development of an image from a 3D scene, by tracing the trajectories of light rays through pixels in a view plane. It is commonly used in fields such as digital animation. In recent years, the advancement of high performance computing and new algorithms enabled processing of large amount of computational tasks in a much smaller time. As a consequence, ray tracing became a potential application for interactive visualisations. Ray tracing is commonly referred to as an “embarrassingly parallelisable algorithm” and is naturally implemented in multicore shared memory systems or distributed systems.

3D Image Rendering

This market briefing introduces 3D image rendering. It provides an overview of the market for HPC solutions and the digital content creation and distribution, in which 3D image rendering is primarily situated. It presents an overview of primary research on the 3D Image Rendering market undertaken in conjunction with Rendicity, an Irish cloud-based rendering solutions company. It concludes with a discussion of benefits to the 3D image rendering market that CloudLightning anticipates demonstrating using simulations. The report draws on publicly available desk research from industry analysis.

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Potential Applications

Ray tracing has applications in a wide variety of industries including:

  • Image rendering for high resolution and 3D images for the animation and gaming industry
  • Human blockage modelling in radio wave propagation studies and for general indoor radio signal prediction
  • Atmospheric radio wave propagation
  • Modelling solar concentrators designs to investigate performance and efficiency
  • Modelling laser ablation profiles in the treatment of high myopic astigmatism to assess the efficacy, safety, and predictability
  • Development of improved ultrasonic array imaging techniques in anisotropic materials. Ultrasonic imaging is commonly used in inspection regimes e.g. weld inspections.
  • Modelling LED illumination systems

Proposed Solution and Impact

The rapidly growing breath and volume of ray tracing applications that can benefit from the flexibility and performance gains afforded by heterogeneous clouds makes a compelling use case and commercialisation target for CloudLightning and provides a strong platform for wide impact.

Our use case will leverage existing ray tracing libraries optimised for MIC and GPU platforms. It will focus on their use with the CloudLightning environment for rendering sample digital media content with a specific focus on performance of the CloudLightning environment in comparison to standalone cloud configurations. This use case will also develop an understanding of how cloud operators can appropriately leverage heterogeneous clouds to enable new services based on tracing applications thus extending the impact beyond the animation and gaming sectors.

CloudLightning will impact on image processing applications as outlined in the use case by enabling access to a broader customer base and to create new customers for HPC Cloud capabilities. The capabilities that CloudLightning will develop will enable industry to leverage heterogeneous cloud resources to drive performance optimisation by reducing rendering times in their application domains to realise new value propositions such as cost reductions, faster innovation, faster diagnostics, reduced development times, and the elimination of specialised IT expenditure.