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Quantum Computing May Make Ray Tracing Easier

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While the research opens up the doors for a future, hybrid approach between classical and quantum rendering, the current state of quantum computing likely puts the researchers' results within a timeframe of years before practical applications emerge.

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U.S., U.K., and Portuguese researchers have combined classical ray tracing algorithms with quantum computing to improve ray tracing performance as much as 190% by reducing the calculation workload substantially.

The researchers rendered a 128 x 128 three-dimensional ray-traced image via classical, non-optimized quantum, and optimized quantum rendering.

The classical technique required computing 2,678 million ray intersections; the unoptimized quantum method demanded just 1,366 million intersections; and the optimized quantum-classical hybrid algorithm required only 896,000 intersections.

Each image took hours of computing time to render, partly because quantum computing devices are still designed under the Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum product category.

The researchers suggested practical applications of this approach may take years to emerge, given the current state of quantum computing.

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