NVIDIA Makes PhysX Open-Source

Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 3 December 2018 at 09:01 AM EST. 26 Comments
As a very big surprise bundled alongside the announcement today of the $2,499 USD TITAN RTX graphics card is word that NVIDIA's PhysX software is going open-source!

It was a decade ago that NVIDIA acquired PhysX from their acquisition of AGEIA Technologies who at the time was working on Physics Processing Units. Since then, PhysX has become tightly coupled with NVIDIA GPUs and CUDA, but now the company is deciding to open-source it.

PhysX is commonly associated with GPU-accelerated physics for games, but it's much more than that, particularly for scientific computing is why it's going open-source. "We’re doing this because physics simulation — long key to immersive games and entertainment — turns out to be more important than we ever thought. Physics simulation dovetails with AI, robotics and computer vision, self-driving vehicles, and high-performance computing."

PhysX is being open-sourced under a 3-clause BSD license, including the GPU acceleration code. They are hoping this will spur the PhysX uptake within AI, research, and other fields. The announcement was posted to their blog while the code is hosted on GitHub.

While NVIDIA is often thought of by Linux enthusiasts/gamers as being open-source un-friendly, we see time and time again how they do open-source projects when it makes sense to them particularly in the embedded and scientific fields where it's almost demanded. Some other recent NVIDIA open-source efforts have involved NVDLA, RAPIDS, their DRIVE Studio software that would form the basis for Qt 3D Studio, and other specialized software projects.
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