June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Computers in Education
13.1019.1 - 13.1019.12
Ray Tracing for Undergraduates
The computer graphics research community has recently renewed its interest in ray tracing, an image synthesis algorithm that simulates the interaction of light with an environment to generate highly realistic images (Figure 1). Recent hardware trends and algorithmic developments make the technique competitive with raster-based algorithms, and some suggest that ray tracing will begin to dominate interactive rendering in coming years.
Figure 1: Image synthesis using ray tracing. The ray tracing algorithm supports complex visual effects that are not easily implemented with raster-based techniques, including depth-of-field, glossy and specular reflections, refraction, soft shadows, and diffuse interreflection.
At Grove City College, we have mapped the contents of common graduate-level courses in ray tracing to an undergraduate audience. Students design and implement a full-featured ray tracing system in a semester-long course that focuses on:
the essential physics and mathematics, software architecture and the impact of design decisions, writing efficient object-oriented code, and basic algorithm analysis.
The course also affords an opportunity to introduce students to the relevant computer science literature, both seminal works and recent innovations, throughout the semester.
In this paper, we provide a brief overview of the visibility problem and two competing algorithms that are commonly used to solve the problem, we detail the course topics and methodology we have used, and we describe our experience in a pilot course with a small group of undergraduate students.
Gribble, C. (2008, June), Ray Tracing For Undergraduates Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4066
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