NVIDIA Vulkan Ray-Tracing Extensions Coming Soon, OptiX API Unveiled
Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 2 April 2018 at 06:05 AM EDT. 11 Comments
Back during GDC when everyone was talking about ray-tracing and Microsoft's DirectX Ray-Tracing API for DX12, but NVIDIA has now confirmed they will be soon releasing ray-tracing extensions for Vulkan. Additionally, the company has now thoroughly gone over their new OptiX API for CUDA-based ray-tracing.

Details are still light on the ray-tracing extensions to the Vulkan standard that should be coming soon, but as more details on that come to light, we'll certainly be covering it. The OptiX API that NVIDIA is talking about today is an application framework built on top of CUDA for high-performance GPU-based ray-tracing. "It provides a simple, recursive, and flexible pipeline for accelerating ray tracing algorithms. The OptiX SDK includes two major components which can be leveraged independently from one another: the ray-tracing engine for renderer development and a post-processing pipeline for image processing before display."

OptiX provides a programmable ray-tracing pipeline, a single-ray programming model, data structures for fast ray-object intersection, support for rendering large scenes, an AI-based denoiser, and more. OptiX will work on Kepler/Maxwell/Pascal GPUs but the best performance by far is on their Volta architecture.

NVIDIA is supporting OptiX on Linux as well as Linux and macOS. Developers wishing to learn much more about NVIDIA OptiX can do so via this blog post out this morning. Additional OptiX information for developers is available via the NVIDIA developer site.
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