JPR Disruptive Technogolies From A Little Startup?

By Jon Peddie

Seemingly out of nowhere—well, South Korea, actually—a four-year-old startup founded by Dr. Hyung Min Yoon, formerly at Samsung, Hee Jin Shin from LG, Byoung Ok Lee from MtekVision, and Woo Chan Park from Sejong University burst on the scene at Hot Chips and simultaneously at Siggraph this year to show off a ray-tracing (RT) chip, their RayCore.

It is not, however, as the company claims, the world’s first ray-tracing chip, but they qualify their claim by calling it the world’s first ray-tracing GPU IP. The first actual RT chip was built by Advanced Rendering Technology (ART) in Cambridge, U.K., 1995, and the company still operates but gave up its silicon solution about six years ago. Caustic Graphics (now owned by Imagination Technologies) was started in 2006 and built prototype hardware RT accelerators using FPGAs.

Siliconarts is offering IP, not a chip. What they demonstrated at Siggraph and Hot Chips was a proof of concept, not a product. (Although they do claim to have an RT chip—the RayCore built in 55-nm.) No matter how it’s delivered, they have an interesting and impressive piece of work. In fact, the company has already been licensing out its ray-tracing IP to its OEM partners since 2011, and is currently working with a multinational mobile AP manufacturer to develop a next-generation mobile application processor.