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This project is an implementation of the paper: GPU Ray Tracing using Irregular Grids. This is not the version that has been used in the paper.


Some improvements have been made to the construction algorithm, which change the performance characteristics of the structure:

  • The voxel map can have more than two levels.
  • Construction is faster (~ +33%)
  • Memory consumption is lower (~ -20%)
  • Traversal is slower (~ -5%)

The traversal being slower can easily being remedied by increasing the resolution (the default parameters are the parameters used in the paper, which will result in lower performance than what was reported for the reasons above). The improvements in build times and memory consumption more than compensate the loss in traversal performance. As a recommendation, use --top-density 0.15 --snd-density 3.0 if you want to get approximately the same performance as the original paper. Increasing the resolution further will result in higher performance, and the new voxel map structure should prevent the memory usage from exploding.

The following experimental features (not mentioned in the paper) are also available, and should increase performance:

  • A more precise expansion algorithm (set the subset_only variable to false in src/,
  • A simple compression scheme (use the --compress option).


This project requires CUDA, SDL2, and CMake. Use the following commands to build the project:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake-gui ..
make -j

If you encounter any problems when building, make sure you clone the repository with the --recursive option, so that all submodules are cloned as well. If the submodules are properly downloaded, the /lib directory should no longer be empty.

Testing and Benchmarking

Once built, the project provides a library for traversal, a library for the construction, and a test/benchmark executable. The executable uses command line arguments to specify the scene to use. The scene must be in the OBJ format. Here is a list of typical uses of the command line program:

  • Lists options:

  • Loads the file scene.obj, builds an irregular grid using default parameters and displays an interactive view:

    src/hagrid scene.obj
  • Loads the file scene.obj, builds an irregular grid with top-level density 0.12, second-level density 0.24, alpha 0.995 (threshold to control cell merging---see the paper), 3 expansion passes, and displays an interactive view:

    src/hagrid scene.obj --top-density 0.12 --snd-density 2.4 --alpha 0.995 --expansion 3
  • Loads the file scene.obj, benchmarks the construction with default parameters by running 10 construction iterations and 5 warmup construction iterations and keeps intermediate buffers alive (should be preferred when benchmarking construction times), and finally displays an interactive view:

    src/hagrid scene.obj --build-iter 10 --build-warmup 5 --keep-alive
  • Loads the file scene.obj, builds an irregular grid with default parameters, and benchmark the traversal by running it on the given ray distribution (the file distribution.rays, containing each ray stored as 6 floats in binary format---3 for the origin and 3 for the direction) 100 times with 20 warmup iterations, and limit the distance along the ray to the range [0, 100]:

    src/hagrid scene.obj --ray-file distribution.rays --bench-iter 100 --bench-warmup 20 -tmin 0 -tmax 100


The code is distributed under the MIT license (see LICENSE.txt).


Implementation of the paper: `GPU Ray Tracing using Irregular Grids`








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