Vice President of Technology Foresight of Imagination: The role of GPU in experiencing meta-universe

With the development of XR hardware, we will begin to see hybrid processing solutions where mobile GPUs can be embedded in the headset itself. In this case, maintaining a balance between power and battery consumption will be more important than ever. CXT has a unique advantage in this regard because it is a scalable solution that enables SoC manufacturers to achieve up to 9TFLOPS of FP32 grating performance and more than 7.2GRay/s ray tracing performance, while providing better than 2 and 3 Level solution is 2.5 times higher in power efficiency.

Utilize the power of GPU to realize virtual immersive experience and huge data processing

Kristof Beets, Vice President of Technology Foresight, Imagination Technologies

“When Hiro approached the street, he saw two young couples climbing down from Port Zero, which is the local port of entry and monorail station. They may be using their parents’ computers for a four-person date in Metaverse. Of course, What he sees is not a real person. These are all part of the moving illustrations drawn by his computer according to the regulations on the fiber optic cable. People are software like Avatar. They are the audio-visual bodies that people communicate with each other in the meta-universe.

-From “Avalanche”, Neal Stephenson (Bantam, 1992)

A whole new era

Since the 1990s, the concept of cyberspace developing more along the social route has existed, and the meta-universe has always been the focus of attention. Companies such as Epic Games, Microsoft and recently Facebook (now Meta) have announced plans to create An interconnected world that spans physical and virtual environments.

As far as the companies involved are currently concerned, this implies the scope covered by Metaverse: work, games, and social interaction. However, it is possible to include everything from education to medical care to the political field. Perhaps it’s best to think of it as a virtual world, where anything possible in the real world can happen, and things that are impossible in reality can happen.

Turning this ambitious concept into reality does bring challenges. Since the interoperability between platforms, systems, and applications will be the key to a fully operational ecosystem, software needs to continue to evolve to promote the realization of the meta-universe. In the next few years, we may see some impressive software leaps and upgrades, which will allow for the management of large amounts of data in new and exciting ways.

However, although software is the key pillar of the integration of the various problems realized by the meta-universe, the hardware is the main way people interact with this new online world. Full-body tactile and virtual reality equipment is still a distant fantasy. During the transition to the meta-universe, VR and AR technologies are likely to be the main means to experience it. This has brought significant opportunities for the chip industry, especially from the GPU perspective, to promote large-scale innovation, help users immerse in it, and use parallelism to deal with data challenges.

The current state of the meta universe

Technically speaking, we have already seen a “meta universe” on a smaller scale. One of the hotly discussed cases is Epic Games’ game “Fortnite” (Fortnite). In 2019, the Marshmello concert event gathered more than 10 million people. This is a purely social event. Subsequently, many other events combined several IPs, such as Ariana Grande’s virtual tour “Rift Tour”, Marvel’s “Nexus Wars” (Nexus Wars). Similarly, in the game field, we have also seen Roblox launch its “Developer Market”, allowing developers to monetize games, assets, plug-ins, 3D models, etc.-effectively creating a way to make money by working in the game.

But the meta universe is more than just a game. Microsoft is one of the world’s largest cloud providers, with a wide range of work software and services, which span the system through Office 365 and LinkedIn, and have hundreds of millions of users. With Facebook (Meta) just announcing its ambitious plan to realize the meta-universe, we are beginning to better understand what the ecosystem might look like – a variety of continuous interconnected data streams, transmitted through platforms, systems, and applications, At the same time, users can truly exist in the online virtual space.

The potential of AR and VR

When considering how people interact with Metaverse, XR hardware is the obvious answer. It is easy to imagine that you put on a VR headset, connect to similar equipment in “Ready Player One”, and then immediately be teleported to the virtual world of your choice.

However, VR headsets are still in their infancy, and due to expensive technology, the barriers to entry are relatively high. In short, to achieve a fully immersive virtual environment, a high-resolution Display with a high refresh rate is required. With the smart innovations currently under development, such as fixation rendering, the headset will continue to evolve-each iteration becomes more convenient and efficient.

In terms of the early meta-universe, AR has shown significant growth. Games like Pokémon Go. The user scans the surrounding real world through 3D to further enhance the immersion of AR. Niantic’s recent acquisition of 6d.ai and Scaniverse highlights the company’s plans to build AR hardware and software that can fully integrate the real and digital environments.

Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Google are also developing AR products that may rely on continuous physical environment scanning to improve user immersion. Moreover, from 2021 to 2028, the compound annual growth rate is expected to be 43.8% (Grand View Research, February 2021), and the AR market is expected to continue to grow rapidly.

The true potential of AR goes beyond games. The technology may have significant cross-industry impacts: from medical training to retail implementation, to commercial logistics, and even interior design. Compared with VR, augmented reality is an easier-to-use solution, and it may be the biggest driving force for the transition to the meta-universe.

GPU, visual immersion, and overcoming data challenges

So far, with decades of experience in creating innovative mobile GPU solutions for more than 10 billion devices, Imagination recognizes the important role that graphics will play in creating a truly immersive meta-universe world. Our recently announced IMG CXT GPU is the first solution to introduce hardware ray tracing to mobile devices, and it is very efficient from a hardware perspective.

Earlier this year, we established the Ray Tracing Rating System (RTLS), which identified six levels of existing and future solutions-from level 0 to level 5. CXT runs at level 4, which means that it not only performs boundary volume hierarchy (BVH) ray traversal on the hardware, but also performs ray coherence sorting on the chip. This allows us to group rays traveling in the same direction and make full use of the GPU’s parallel computing power-similar to a block-based rendering solution, thereby improving overall ALU utilization and testing efficiency.

In the short term, solutions like CXT can allow companies to bring ray tracing to mobile AR environments, which means that digital objects can be rendered more realistically across programs.

With the development of XR hardware, we will begin to see hybrid processing solutions where mobile GPUs can be embedded in the headset itself. In this case, maintaining a balance between power and battery consumption will be more important than ever. CXT has a unique advantage in this regard because it is a scalable solution that enables SoC manufacturers to achieve up to 9TFLOPS of FP32 grating performance and more than 7.2GRay/s ray tracing performance, while providing better than 2 and 3 Level solution is 2.5 times higher in power efficiency.

Of course, AR and VR technologies are just the tip of the iceberg of the meta universe. The ecosystem itself may bring many software and data processing challenges, as well as impressive innovations. In recent years, GPUs have been successfully used to solve big data problems because they can execute thousands of threads at the same time, thus having higher output and memory bandwidth than traditional CPUs. GPU can also render the digital world through innovations such as Imagination’s coherence sorting hardware, thereby releasing higher efficiency. In other words, the graphics processing unit will play an important role in how data is managed in the meta-universe.

Although the true meta-universe will take some time to come true, entering the industry is an exciting time. Competition breeds innovation. As more and more players join the competition in this new online era, we will definitely see the development of some excellent software, GPU, CPU and AI.

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