University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE High Performance Graphics

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Computer Science

DESCRIPTION The study-unit looks into the interactions between parallel hardware, distributed systems and the design of efficient algorithms for graphics and visualisation applications. The main focus is the delivery of physically-based graphics focusing in particular on physically-based illumination. The study-unit first provides an introduction to rasterisation based real-time rendering and GPUs. This is then followed by a study of state-of-the-art global illumination algorithms. A readily available rendering framework will serve as the platform on which students will develop their work.

Study-unit Aims:

The main aims of the study-unit are to provide experience on:
- The programming of current graphics processing units;
- The design and implementation details of high-performance physically-based illumination algorithms;
- The design of network infrastructures on which work distribution is carried out to improve rendering performance.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will:

- Be able to discriminate between ad-hoc and physically based illumination methods;
- Have an excellent understanding of the pragmatics of computer graphics and the complicated nature of lighting and geometry used in high-fidelity visualisation.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Adopt high-performance computing to design and implement state-of-the-art illumination algorithms;
- Work with and get optimal performance results from multi-core and distributed platforms.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Physically Based Rendering, 2nd Edition: From Theory To Implementation. Matt Pharr, Greg Humphreys. July 2010, ISBN: 0123750792
- Real-Time Rendering: 3rd Edition. Tomas Akenine-Moeller, Eric Haines, Naty Hoffman. July 2008, ISBN: 1568814240
- Heterogeneous Computing with OpenCL: Gaster, Howes, Kaeli, Mistry, Schaa. September 2011, ISBN: B005JRHYUS

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Practical and Project

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation Yes 30%
Assignment Yes 70%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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