At the prestigious SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Computer GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques) conference in Vancouver yesterday, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang announced Turing, an eighth-generation GPU architecture introducing ray tracing and AI capability to real-time graphics. Huang proclaimed Turing as Nvidia’s “greatest leap since 2006.”
Nvidia has been working on this project for a decade. Building on the foundation of Pascal architecture, the Turing architecture has added a Tensor Core with AI training and inferencing capabilities, and an RT Core with ray tracing.
The Tensor Core provides 128 TFlops of power under half-precision floating-point FP16, 250 Tops for Int8 accuracy, and 500 Tops for Int4. The new RT Core can increase ray tracing speed by a factor of 25 compared to Pascal architecture.
With 4,608 CUDA cores, the RTX series of chips deliver up to 16 trillion floating point operations in parallel with 16 trillion integer operations per second to accelerate complex simulations of real-world physics. The RTX chips have 16 GB of GDDR6 memory for accelerated development, with memory capacity expandable to 96 GB.
Huang also unveiled the first Turing-based GPUs — the Nvidia Quadro RTX 8000, Quadro RTX 6000 and RTX 5000, which can run ray tracing at up to 10 GigaRays per second.
In conjunction with the hardware, Nvidia also launched a full-stack software platform — Nvidia RTX — which delivers hybrid rendering technology that combines ray tracing, AI, and compute capability. The company also announced it will open source its Nvidia Material Definition Language (MDL), a programming language for defining physics-based rendering materials; and that RTX will support Common Scene Description (USD) language on Pixar.
Nvidia believes the new Turing architecture can help open up the US$250 billion visual effects market, with applications in traditional media such as design, Digital Content Creation (DEC), Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC), visualization, and film and television.
Huang told the SIGGRAPH audience Nvidia’s new line of chips “fundamentally changes how computer graphics will be done, it’s a step change in realism.” The releases will surely excite the tens of millions of designers and artists working with advanced technologies.