A blog by Jonas Finnemann Jensen

May 24, 2009
TheMatrixDistributed, distributed realtime ray tracing
Filed under: Computer,English,School by jonasfj at 4:07 am

Now I’m finally done with my second semester project at Aalborg University, and as usually I publish my things here. This project is about distributed realtime ray tracing. Which have been fun, because ray tracing is CPU bound and it have been a joy to play with all sorts of hacks and optimizations.

The report discusses what the demand for ray tracing is, what ray tracing is and how a ray tracer can be implemented, covering the basics of ray tracing and bounding volume hierarchies. It also discusses how distribution could be done, which is the only slightly new thing in it… It’s not a perfect report there’s still some areas where the English is kind of bad and some sections that could use a rewrite or two 🙂
Nevertheless, considering the circumstances I’m satified the result. And the group have worked fine…

Now the interesting part, TheMatrixDistributed, as a part of this project we implemented a distributed realtime ray tracer, with bounding volume hierarchies, spheres, planes and triangles that supports textures. We also did a small obj parser to import models exported from Blender. TheMatrixDistributed is implemented in C++ and it’s turned out to be quite fast, considering that the rest of my group have little to no programming experirence. When distribution to 6 dualcore laptops and a quadcore desktop we got around 8 FPS at best with 1024×768 screen and about 100,000 triangles in the scene, not filling the entire screen.


The frontpage image (original 1024×768) seen above has about 1,000,000 triangles it was render on 6 dualcore laptops and a quadcore desktop at about 0.6 FPS with 4x antialias.

Though the report and TheMatrixDistributed probably isn’t of much value to anybody it’s published here if anybody should be interested. The report is released under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 and TheMatrixDistributed is released under GNU GPL.


  1. Looks very interesting. What kind of IDE did you use during the development?

    Comment by Steffan Pallesen — August 17, 2009 @ 8:32 pm

  2. We used CodeBlocks because it was platform independent… But it’s project files were not… especially not when linking to third party libraries.

    I wouldn’t recommend CodeBlocks though… I’ve previously found simple makefiles and a plain text editor to be comfortable.

    Comment by jonasfj — August 18, 2009 @ 5:49 am

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