FWF - GPUPipelines - Fully Programmable GPU Pipelines

Project: Research project

Project Details


A modern computer system has a graphics processing unit (GPU) with enormous computational power. However, the overall hardware architecture of the GPU has not changed for almost 15 years. A fixed-function pipeline with a static sequence of stages supports a certain type of graphics application, primarily designed to deliver computer games. With new GPU programming languages such as CUDA, we can use the GPU power for computing simulations, but we cannot easily build new graphics pipelines, because certain parts of the GPU are not available using CUDA.
In this project, we propose to overcome this restriction with a new software framework, which supplements the missing parts of a graphics pipeline as a framework for a GPU programming language. This is challenging, because the framework has to be very efficient, or it will not be able to compete with a standard graphics pipeline. However, we can make use of the high flexibility afforded by a software implementation to produce a competitive framework.
More important than pure efficiency is that, with this software framework for graphics pipelines, we can then overcome all the restrictions of the conventional pipeline. For example, we can replace a rectangular dense framebuffer with a much more efficient irregular pixel structure. We can also replace uniform sampling patters for pixels with non-uniform ones, feeding into new Virtual Reality devices such as the Oculus Rift.
Effective start/end date1/03/1729/02/20