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Monica Spisar
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Recurse Center F2'21

I wrote a ray tracing engine while at The Recurse Center*.

Digging into how photo-realistic images are created for movies and games, the deep challenges turned out not to be pinned to developing algorithms for modeling optical interactions but, rather, the phenomenal hardware (supported by machine learning) required to handle the computational complexity of ray and path tracing.

ray-traced spheres with shadows

The code models light interactions including ambient, diffuse surface scattering (Lambertian), and reflection/refraction (Fresnel, computed recursively). It's not tailored to leverage GPU capabilities, but I did get a rapid fire intro to real world ray and path tracing implementations and research - which is super cool.

Realistic images at high frame rates for games rely on innovative approaches stitched together to meet stringent technical constraints, and exquisite animations and special effects in movies are made possible by a combination of advanced hardware and software supported by dedicated computer clusters (aka render farms). And both applications depend on sophisticated GPU platforms optimized for ray tracing.

*RC is a haven for curious, self-directed software explorers. Feel free to get in touch if you're considering applying.


I've previously written about gaming aging on Substack and about medical imaging - with and without AI - on Medium.

Site: MIT License / Copyright 2021 Monica Spisar