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Jonathan Erickson

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

How About 'iGramps' Instead?

January 17, 2009

You can always tell when the developers roll out something before marketing has a crack at "preparing" it. And that ususally starts with the name of the product or the title of the paper. Take, for instance, the programming model for graphics pipelines created and described a team of researchers from Stanford University and Microsoft Research.What name did Jeremy Sugerman, Kayvon Fatahalian, Solomon Boulos, Kurt Akeley, and Pat Hanrahan bestow on their creation? Would you believe "GRAMPS"? Okay, that works as an acronym for "graphics pipeline" but in the real world, it would never make it past marketing. Even with the likes of Apple marketing calling it, say, "iGramps" the title won't get the iPod generation to excited.

Still, as described in the paper GRAMPS: A Programming Model for Graphics Pipelines GRAMPS is a really interesting project. From the abstract:

GRAMPS [is] a programming model that generalizes concepts from modern real-time graphics pipelines by exposing a model of execution containing both fixed-function and application-programmable processing stages that exchange data via queues. GRAMPS allows the number, type, and connectivity of these processing stages to be defined by software, permitting arbitrary processing pipelines or even processing graphs. Applications achieve high performance using GRAMPS by expressing advanced rendering algorithms as custom pipelines, then using the pipeline as a rendering engine.

What's pertinent for this forum is that once the researchers introduce and describe the system, they then evaluate it by implementing three pipelines -- Direct3D, a ray tracer, and a hybridization of the two -- running them on emulations of two different GRAMPS implementations: a traditional GPU-like architecture and a CPU-like multi-core architecture.

In tests, the GRAMPS schedulers run our pipelines with 500 to 1500 KB of queue usage at their peaks.

While I found the paper to be an interesting read, I caught myself wanting to be sitting in a rocking chair in front of the fireplace. GRAMPS indeed.

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