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Using Hardware Ray Transforms to Accelerate Ray/Primitive Intersections for Long, Thin Primitive Types

Ingo Wald, Nate Morrical, Stefan Zellmann, Lei Ma, Will Usher, Tiejun Huang, Valerio Pascucci
accepted at HPG 2020.



With the recent addition of hardware ray tracing capabilities, GPUs have become incredibly efficient at ray tracing both triangular geometry, and instances thereof. However, the bounding volume hierarchies that current ray tracing hardware relies on are known to struggle with long, thin primitives like cylinders and curves, because the axis-aligned bounding boxes that these hierarchies rely on cannot tightly bound such primitives. In this paper, we evaluate the use of RTX ray tracing capabilities to accelerate these primitives by tricking the GPU’s instancing units into executing a hardware-accelerated oriented bounding box (OBB) rejection test before calling the user’s intersection program. We show that this can be done with minimal changes to the intersection programs and demonstrate speedups of up to 5.9× on a variety of data sets.