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Using Programmable Graphics Hardware for Acoustics and Audio Rendering

Over the last decade, the architecture of graphics accelerators (GPUs) has dramatically evolved, outpacing traditional general purpose processors (CPUs) with an average 2.25-fold increase in performance every year. With massive processing capabilities and high-level programmability, current GPUs can be leveraged for applications far beyond visual rendering. In this paper, we offer an overview of modern programmable GPUs and how they can be applied to acoustics and audio rendering for virtual reality or gaming applications. For tasks ranging from sound synthesis and audio signal processing to numerical acoustic simulations, GPUs massive parallelism and dedicated instructions can offer a 5 to 100-fold performance improvement over traditional CPU implementations. We illustrate such benefits with results from 3D audio processing and sound scattering simulations and discuss future opportunities for auralization on massively multicore processors.

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