Monday, April 8, 2013

Graphics Pipeline: Before and After My GPU Course

A big part of my GPU course is the modern graphics pipeline. Before students take my class, they usually have had one or two graphics classes, but not necessarily much experience with real-time rendering.

To see how well we did this semester, on the first day of class, I asked each student to draw the graphics pipeline on a sheet of paper. Then I asked the class as a whole to collaborative and draw a graphics pipeline on the board. We came up with something like this:

Then I handed out the pipeline map from OpenGL Insights, and said by the end of the semester they would have a pretty good understanding of it.

The semester went on, and we did a bunch of cool projects, including a graphics pipeline implemented in CUDA.

At the end of the semester, I told the class that there would be a final, but they didn't need to study for it and that it wouldn't be graded. For the "final", we repeated the first day of class: students individually drew pipelines, followed by a pipeline by the entire class:

Wow - what a difference! I also handed back individual pipelines so students could compare theirs to the first day of class.

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