Brighter, crisper images are the goal for top Intel researchers in their work on future graphics technology.
I talked Wednesday with Intel's Jerry Bautista, the co-director of the Tera-scale computing research program, and Daniel Pohl, an Intel researcher. I focused mostly on a concept called ray tracing but also questioned them about Intel's upcoming Larrabee processor.
First, some background. Ray tracing--whether you agree or disagree about its viability--has been a fairly hot topic. It has been mentioned frequently by Intel over the last six months. An Intel blog titled "Real Time Ray-Tracing: The End of Rasterization?" and later comments by Intel executives that the company is looking at doing ray tracing on its processors set the stage for debate on the viability of ray tracing in mainstream gaming.
Ray tracing is a technique for rendering three-dimensional graphics using complex light interactions, allowing the creation of extremely detailed reflective surfaces, for example, with stunning photorealistic results.
In the future, ray tracing may compete with today's traditional raster-based graphics used in games running on Nvidia and AMD-ATI graphics processors. Intel claims ray tracing runs better on general-purpose processors, such as its Core 2 Quad processors, than on traditional graphics processors. Ray tracing may also run on future processors such as Larrabee.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini alluded to this at a Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Strategic Decisions Conference last month. Asked who Intel's major future competitors are, Otellini responded, "In graphics, as we move up the food chain, we're bouncing into ATI via AMD and Nvidia more than we used to. And I don't expect that to abate anytime soon." … Read more