Tops Systems Corp of Japan, a venture involved in multicore technology, together with Toyota Motor Corp and Nihon Unisys Ltd, both of Japan, is developing a dedicated integrated circuit (IC) for ray tracing, an image rendering method used in 3D computer graphics (3D CG) processing. Ray tracing is a rendering method that traces light rays in reverse, from the point of view toward the pixels. A total of 73 heterogeneous cores designed specifically for ray tracing operations will be single-chipped, and nine of these chips interconnected (see Fig). With high-definition (HD) resolution at 1920 x 1080 pixels, the target processing speed is 800 tera floating point operations per second (TFLOPS).
Researchers have figured out how to resolve the basic issues involved in the overall system architecture and application parallelism analysis, and will begin detail design and implementation as an application-specific IC (ASIC) shortly. They plan to fabricate the chips using 45nm manufacturing technology, and expect the chips to operate at 750MHz, integrating 130 million gates into a 17mm square footprint.