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NVIDIA's RealityServer

Posted by: John at 10/20/2009 3:36 PM
NVIDIA today talked about their cloud computing product in RealityServer. RealityServer leverages the GPU and the computational power that's available in providing what I would like to call a cloud based rendering farm. Basically, NVIDIA will be able to provide or produce the hardware needed to enable you to create machines that compute photorealistic images and send them to clients. Clients can use something as simple as a web browser or an iPhone to view these items. We're talking very detailed 3D, computed off site, and sent to the client to be viewed through the Internet.

The demonstration today showed an office setting where light was being calculated in real time. There's no use of fake light sources as everything in the scene is lit up by the single light source of the sun coming in from the window and bouncing off various surfaces. The RealityServer is able to quickly calculate the lighting in the room and send the resultant image back in the web browser. It took a few seconds to get the image to be clear but that's in time and added computational power, it can decrease the amount time needed for the clear image to appear.

The software component that does the computations is called iray. iray is being billed as the first physically correct render of light and it takes some pretty hefty horsepower to run well. That's where the hardware comes in using Tesla. Of course, Fermi will be able to run this as well when it's released. To be able to calculate accurately light sources reflecting from various points in the room used to take hours or even days. Nowadays, iray combined with RealityServer hardware can do it in moments depending on the fidelity you are trying to achieve.

All this of course can happen in the cloud where various users can come in and access the power of the software and hardware to create 3D images for their use. Companies can leverage the power without having to fork out the money for the hardware if they don't want to just by signing up with a company that is offering the service. NVIDIA isn't going to be providing the cloud computing service but rather the hardware and software to a company that does.

Below are some slides from the event. The picture close up of the person is actually a render and shows you how detailed a model of a person can get. The office setting pictures show off some of RealityServer in action as they changed the settings in real time.