Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time

FCPW: Fastest Closest Points in the West

FCPW is a lightweight, header only C++ library for fast closest point and ray intersection queries. It is about 3x faster than Embree for closest point queries and is only slightly slower for ray intersection queries (0.8x) (see Benchmarks).

FCPW uses a wide BVH with vectorized traversal to accelerate its queries to geometric primitives, with additional support for constructive solid geometry (CSG) and instancing. The geometric primitives currently supported are triangles, line segments or a mixture of the two, though it is fairly easy to add support for other types of primitives in the library.

FCPW uses the amazing Enoki library for vectorization, though it falls back to Eigen if Enoki is not included in the project. In the latter case, FCPW performs queries with a non-vectorized binary BVH.

Including FCPW

Add the following lines to your CMakeLists.txt file

target_link_libraries(YOUR_TARGET fcpw)
target_include_directories(YOUR_TARGET PUBLIC ${FCPW_EIGEN_INCLUDES})
target_include_directories(YOUR_TARGET PUBLIC ${FCPW_ENOKI_INCLUDES})

to include FCPW in your project. Then, simply add

#include <fcpw/fcpw.h>

in the file where you want to use FCPW. In case you are not using Cmake, you'll have to define a few extra variables

#define FCPW_SIMD_WIDTH 4 // change based on the SIMD width supported by your machine
#include <fcpw/fcpw.h>

and include eigen and enoki (optional) independently into your project. If you plan on building and running the tests, clone the following projects into the deps folder

git clone deps/embree
git clone deps/tbb
git clone --recurse-submodules deps/polyscope


The easiest and most direct way to use FCPW is through its Scene class that provides methods to load the geometry, build the acceleration structure and perform geometric queries. Here is an example of doing this with a geometric object consisting of triangles

// initialize a 3d scene
Scene<3> scene;

// set the types of primitives the objects in the scene contain;
// in this case, we have a single object consisting of only triangles

// set the vertex and triangle count of the (0th) object
scene.setObjectVertexCount(nVertices, 0);
scene.setObjectTriangleCount(nTriangles, 0);

// specify the vertex positions
for (int i = 0; i < nVertices; i++) {
	scene.setObjectVertex(positions[i], i, 0);

// specify the triangle indices
for (int i = 0; i < nTriangles; i++) {
	scene.setObjectTriangle(&indices[3*i], i, 0);

// now that the geometry has been specified, build the acceleration structure, true); // the second boolean argument enables vectorization

// perform a closest point query
Interaction<3> interaction;
scene.findClosestPoint(queryPoint, interaction);

// perform a ray intersection query
std::vector<Interaction<3>> interactions;
scene.intersect(queryRay, interactions, false, true); // don't check for occlusion, and record all hits

Notice that Scene is templated on dimension, enabling FCPW to work with geometric data in any dimension out of the box as long the geometric primitives are specialized to the dimension of interest as well. The Interaction object stores information relevant to the query, such as the distance to the geometric primitive and the closest/intersection point on the primitive.

FCPW can additionally compute the normal at the closest/intersection point, though this must be explicitly requested through the computeObjectNormals method in the Scene class. Furthermore, it is possible to load multiple objects, possibly with mixed primitives and instance transforms, into a scene. A CSG tree can also be built via the setCsgTreeNode method. More details can be found in fcpw.h.

Expert comment: if you have multiple objects all containing the same primitive types (e.g. triangles), it is recommended to "flatten" those objects into a single object before loading the geometry into FCPW. In the latter case, FCPW builds a single acceleration structure over all the geometric primitives in the scene, while in the former it builds a hierarchy of acceleration structures, with an acceleration structure for each object in the scene.


See report by Max Slater.


Rohan Sawhney, with support from Max Slater, Ruihao Ye, Keenan Crane and Johann Korndoerfer.


Released under the MIT License.


fast closest point queries







No releases published


No packages published