Courtesy of Multicoreinfo.com,
Tops Systems Corp of Japan, a venture involved in multicore technology, together with Toyota Motor Corp and Nihon Unisys Ltd, both of Japan, is developing a dedicated integrated circuit (IC) for ray tracing*, an image rendering method used in 3D computer graphics (3D CG) processing. A total of 73 heterogeneous cores designed specifically for ray tracing operations will be single-chipped, and nine of these chips interconnected (see Fig). With high-definition (HD) resolution at 1920 x 1080 pixels, the target processing speed is 800 tera floating point operations per second (TFLOPS).
Researchers have figured out how to resolve the basic issues involved in the overall system architecture and application parallelism analysis, and will begin detail design and implementation as an application-specific IC (ASIC) shortly. They plan to fabricate the chips using 45nm manufacturing technology, and expect the chips to operate at 750MHz, integrating 130 million gates into a 17mm square footprint.
The primary application here is the generation of visual imagery. Why a ray tracing chip when GPUS are kicking butt and taking names? A different kind of graphical experience. GPUs operate on the assumption that the scenes being rendered have been polygonalized. Ray tracing can give a more accurate rendering of the scene, and create more realistic imagery. Of course, GPUs were created for the graphics industry too, and we co-opted them pretty successfully. Maybe we’ll be able to make use of these, too.
Full article here.