GPU Data Structures for Graphics and Vision
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Graphics hardware has in recent years become increasingly programmable, and its programming APIs use the stream processor model to expose massive parallelization to the programmer. Unfortunately, the inherent restrictions of the stream processor model, used by the GPU in order to maintain high performance, often pose a problem in porting CPU algorithms for both video and volume processing to graphics hardware. Serial data dependencies which accelerate CPU processing are counterproductive for the data-parallel GPU. This thesis demonstrates new ways for tackling well-known problems of large scale video/volume analysis. In some instances, we enable processing on the restricted hardware model by reintroducing algorithms from early computer graphics research. On other occasions, we use newly discovered, hierarchical data structures to circumvent the random-access read/fixed write restriction that had previously kept sophisticated analysis algorithms from running solely on graphics hardware. For 3D processing, we apply known game graphics concepts such as mip-maps, projective texturing, and dependent texture lookups to show how video/volume processing can benefit algorithmically from being implemented in a graphics API. The novel GPU data structures provide drastically increased processing speed, and lift processing heavy operations to real-time performance levels, paving the way for new and interactive vision/graphics applications.