No assignee for this patent application has been made.
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Recent advances in computer performance have enabled graphics systems to provide more realistic graphical images using personal computers, home video game computers, handheld devices, and the like. In such graphics systems, a number of procedures are executed to render or draw graphics primitives to the screen of the system. A graphics primitive is a basic component of a graphic, such as a point, line, polygon, or the like. Rendered images are formed with combinations of these graphics primitives. Many procedures may be utilized to perform three-dimensional (3-D) graphics rendering.
"Specialized graphics processing units (GPUs) have been developed to increase the speed at which graphics rendering procedures are executed. The GPUs typically incorporate one or more rendering pipelines. Each pipeline includes a number of hardware-based functional units that are designed for high-speed execution of graphics instructions/data. Generally, the instructions/data are fed into the front end of a pipeline and the computed results emerge at the back end of a pipeline. The hardware-based functional units, cache memories, firmware, and the like, of the GPUs are designed to operate on the basic graphics primitives and produce real-time rendered 3-D images.
"There is increasing interest in rendering 3-D graphical images in portable or handheld devices such as cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and other devices where power consumption is an important design consideration. However, portable or handheld devices generally have reduced capabilities relative to more full-sized devices such as desktop computers. The desire is to quickly perform realistic 3-D graphics rendering in a handheld device, within the capabilities of such devices."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Embodiments of the present invention provide methods and systems for performing 3-D graphics rendering in an electronic device such as a portable or handheld device. In one embodiment, an arithmetic logic stage in a graphics pipeline includes a number of arithmetic logic units (ALUs). The ALUs each include, for example, a multiplier and an adder. The ALUs are interconnected by circuitry that is software-programmable and can be configured on-the-fly. Thus, for example, output from the multiplier in one ALU can be routed to both the adder in that ALU and an adder in another ALU, and an adder can receive data from more than one multiplier.
"Because the interconnecting circuitry is programmable, the ALUs are reusable--that is, the same adders and multipliers can be used to perform one type of operation in one pass and another type of operation in another pass. Thus, for example, the ALUs can be programmed to implement a multiply-add operation in one pass and a multidimensional dot product computation in a second pass.
"In one embodiment, the ALUs are analogous to one another but the interconnecting circuitry is asymmetrical. In this embodiment, the programming of each ALU is nevertheless symmetrical for ease of programming.
"In general, according to embodiments of the present invention, multipliers and adders can be shared between ALUs. As a result, relatively complex, multidimensional operations can be performed in a single pass through the arithmetic logic stage of a graphics pipeline. Accordingly, graphics operations can be efficiently performed without a commensurate increase in the amount of hardware. As such, the ALUs are well-suited for use in a portable or handheld device where space is at a premium and where power consumption is a key consideration.
"These and other objects and advantages of the various embodiments of the present invention will be recognized by those of ordinary skill in the art after reading the following detailed description of the embodiments that are illustrated in the various drawing figures.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"The present invention is illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements.
"FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing components of a computer system in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
"FIG. 2 is a block diagram showing components of a graphics processing unit (GPU) in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
"FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an arithmetic logic stage in a GPU according to one embodiment of the present invention.
"FIG. 4 is a table summarizing programming instructions for an arithmetic logic stage according to one embodiment of the present invention."
For additional information on this patent application, see: BERGLAND, Tyson; TOKSVIG, Michael J.M.; MAHAN,
Keywords for this news article include: Patents.
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