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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

COMP5822M High-Performance Graphics

15 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Markus Billeter

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

We will assume a good standard of C++ programming, including use of classes, basic templates, and overloading. Knowledge of computer architecture, in particular the memory hierarchy. Knowledge of data structure and algorithms including but not limited to complexity analysis. Knowledge of mathematics including linear algebra, calculus, discrete mathematics, statistics, numerical analysis, etc. Knowledge of physics. Knowledge of Computer Graphics and OpenGL, hands-on experience with at least one Graphics User Interface library.


COMP5812MFoundations of Modelling and Rendering
COMP5821MGeometric Processing

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module follows on from Foundations of Modelling and Rendering by exploring the concepts, algorithms and methods with which visually rich scenes are rendered under real-time constraints by exploiting the features of modern graphics hardware and software systems. The module is organised around key technologies and principles exploited in computer games and other resource-constrained applications. Starting from students’ initial understanding of ideal rendering, the module explores how real-time rendering achieves high visual veracity within a fixed budget of computational resources.


The module builds on previous modules contents and focuses on real-time rendering on modern systems. The focus is on real-time applications running on standard stand-alone systems (such as common desktops or laptops). It will
- Detail modern computer systems, their architecture in the context of computer graphics, and the challenges that such systems bring.
- Introduce and detail modern graphics APIs (such as the Vulkan API).
- Introduce, detail and discuss modern graphics/rendering techniques in the context of real-time rendering, including computation of illumination (direct and indirect), texturing, render-to-texture, shadowing, as well as common techniques for accelerated rendering (e.g., deferred shading).
- Discuss what approximations and simplifications these methods make to enable high-performance rendering, and how these trade between physical realism, perceived realism and computational cost.
- Discuss how rendering techniques can appropriately debugged, analysed and evaluated.
Students will explore presented methods and techniques through exercises and courseworks, in which they will work with a modern API such as Vulkan.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module, students will
- Understand the architecture of modern graphics systems (hardware and software), and the implications thereof when writing high performance renderers.
- Be able to utilize a modern high-performance graphics API to implement, debug and evaluate modern rendering techniques.
- Understand, describe, utilize and evaluate rendering techniques, and chose appropriate solutions based on requirements in terms of realism and available computational resources.

Skills outcomes
* Shader programming (GLSL).
* Graphics performance profiling.
* Graphics programming in an industry-relevant toolset, e.g. Vulkan


- Modern rendering systems
- The Vulkan API
- Meshes, input data and “baking”
- Texturing, texture storage, sampling
- Framebuffers, anti-aliasing, filtering
- Surface appearance; Shading and lighting
- Shadows, global illumination
- Render-to-texture, post-processing, image-based techniques
- Acceleration structures, BVHs
- Ray tracing and hardware extensions
- Modern GPU hardware features and approaches

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours110.00
Total Contact hours40.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback is given during the supervised lab sessions. When possible, feedback is given on courseworks.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentModern Graphics Pipeline40.00
In-course AssessmentData and Shading30.00
In-course AssessmentRender-to-texture and Shadows30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

This module will be reassessed by coursework only.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:54:00


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