RTX Beyond Ray Tracing: Exploring the Use of Hardware Ray Tracing Cores for Tet-Mesh Point Location

Ingo Wald, Will Usher, Nate Morrical, Laura Lediaev, and Valerio Pascucci
In To Appear, High Performance Graphics, 2019
Fig. 1: a-c) Illustrations of the tetrahedral mesh point location kernels evaluated in this paper. a) Our reference method builds a BVH over the tets and performs both BVH traversal and point-in-tet tests in software (black) using CUDA. b) rtx-bvh uses an RTX-accelerated BVH over tets and triggers hardware BVH traversal (green) by tracing infinitesimal rays at the sample points, while still performing point-tet tests in software (black). c) rtx-rep-faces and rtx-shrd-faces use both hardware BVH traversal and triangle intersection (green) by tracing rays against the tetrahedras' faces. d) An image from the unstructured-data volume ray marcher used to evaluate our point location kernels, showing the 35.7M tet Agulhas Current data set rendered interactively on an NVIDIA TITAN RTX (34FPS at 10242 pixels)


We explore a first proof-of-concept example of creatively using the Turing generation's hardware ray tracing cores to solve a problem other than classical ray tracing, specifically, point location in unstructured tetrahedral meshes. Starting with a CUDA reference method, we describe and evaluate three different approaches to reformulate this problem in a manner that allows it to be mapped to these new hardware units. Each variant replaces the simpler problem of point queries with the more complex one of ray queries; however, thanks to hardware acceleration, these approaches are actually faster than the reference method.


Paper (PDF)


title = {{RTX} {Beyond} {Ray} {Tracing:} {Exploring} the {Use} of {Hardware} {Ray} {Tracing} {Cores} for {Tet}-{Mesh} {Point} {Location}},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the Conference on High-Performance Graphics (HPG)},
author = {Wald, Ingo and Usher, Will and Morrical, Nate and Lediaev, Laura and Pascucci, Valerio},
year = {2019},