M.Sc. Timo Viitanen’s doctoral dissertation defence on Hardware Accelerators for Animated Ray Tracing took place on a warm and sunny Friday 25.5. The opponent was Dr. Samuli Laine, Principal Research Scientist at NVIDIA, and the Custos was Prof. Jarmo Takala from the Department of Pervasive Computing.
Ray tracing is one way for computers to paint images with, e.g., reflections, transparent objects, and even full physics-based simulation of the propagation of light. Ray tracing in real-time has been a long-time goal (or pipe dream) in computer graphics, and recently there have been major efforts by the video game and GPU industries in this direction. In his dissertation, Timo studied how add extra hardware to GPUs so as to help make ray tracing work in the difficult case of animated scenes which contain moving characters and objects.
The defence started with background presentations with Timo going through a short history of graphics, and the opponent expanding on the challenges of modern photorealistic rendering. An interesting discussion followed, starting with general questions on the background and motivation of the thesis, and then moving on to a technical review. The defence concluded around two hours fifteen minutes with the honorable opponent recommending the dissertation to be accepted.
Text and pics: Timo Viitanen / Matias Koskela