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Real-Time Volumetric Light Transport for Rendering of Scenes with Participating Media

PGR-P-1847

Key facts

Type of research degree
PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Project start date
Monday 19 February 2024
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Funding
Competition funded
Source of funding
University of Leeds
Additional supervisors
Dr Markus Billeter, Dr Mantas Mikaitis
Schools
School of Computing
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Participating media, such as fog, smoke or liquids are very commonplace. Light traveling through a participating medium interacts with it through absorption and scattering. These complex interactions contribute to significant and complex lighting effects, illuminating both the medium itself and (indirectly) surrounding objects and surfaces. <br /> <br /> Volumetric light transport considers such cases. Despite recent advances in both methods and hardware, it remains a challenge, especially in real-time settings. Currently popular methods, such as path tracing, consider specific events where light interacts with the world and rely on being able to sample a subset of the events. In participating media, such events can occur anywhere and at any time (and, indeed, many times for multiple scattering), causing the complexity to explode. Iterative methods, such as light propagation volumes, keep the complexity down by instead simulating light as it moves through a discretized space. <br /> <br /> This project proposes research of novel real-time methods to simulate light in environments with e.g., heterogeneous media such as smoke, fog, clouds or even liquids. The focus lies on developing algorithms and data structures in the context of the iterative methods, that specifically work well on current and future hardware. It proposes an investigation into efficient representations, including exploration of the underlying formats for storing and processing numerical data. <br /> <br /> Accepted candidates would likely start their work with the light transport component, focusing on exploring novel, hierarchical data structures. The first year would revolve around exploring different potential structures and evaluating the different choices. The second year would likely revolve on efficiently applying these to dynamic data, which may require updates and changes to the underlying data. The third year would shift towards the low-level representation of data and explore if e.g., custom or lower precision data formats can be utilized to further improve performance. Such an exploration could potentially consider/propose novel/changes to hardware. <br /> <br /> The core outcomes are novel spatial data structures and efficient representations thereof to support efficient iterative light transport methods. However, representing spatially varying quantities is fundamental in many different applications and we would expect the data structures to be usable in closely related methods, including, for example, simulation of gases/liquids.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p class="MsoNoSpacing">A successful candidate is expected to have a good familiarity with C/C++ and previous experience working with real-time graphics and GPUs through e.g., Vulkan or CUDA. Familiarity with the representation of numerical quantities is expected. Previous experience engaging with modern hardware on a low level, e.g., SIMD, tensor cores and other specific-purpose components, is a strong positive.&nbsp; A desire to learn/understand high-level physical models of light is a plus.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:11px">Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.leeds.ac.uk/research-applying/doc/applying-research-degrees">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study section that you are applying for <strong><em>PHD Computing FT,</em></strong>&nbsp;in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is&nbsp;<em><strong>Real-Time Volumetric Light Transport for Rendering of Scenes with Participating Media</strong></em> as well as <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/computing/staff/8810/dr-markus-billeter">Dr Markus Billeter</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor and in the finance section, please state clearly&nbsp;<em><strong>the funding that you are applying for, if you are self-funding or externally sponsored</strong></em>.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p>Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis. &nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. &nbsp;We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</p> <p>Please note that you must provide the following documents in support of your application by the closing date of 3 April 2024 for Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship or&nbsp;8 April 2024 for Leeds Doctoral Scholarship:</p> <ul> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> </ul>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to this research degree programme must have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) and Masters' Degree in an appropriate discipline. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.5 overall with at least 6.5 in writing and at least 6.0 in reading, listening and speaking or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p><strong>Self-Funded or externally sponsored students are welcome to apply.</strong></p> <p><strong>UK</strong>&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/209-leeds-doctoral-scholarships-2022">Leeds Doctoral Scholarships</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/234-leeds-opportunity-research-scholarship-2022">Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship</a>&nbsp;(open from October 2023)&nbsp;are available to UK applicants.&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/60-alumni-bursary">Alumni Bursary</a>&nbsp;is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Non-UK</strong>&nbsp;&ndash; The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/48-china-scholarship-council-university-of-leeds-scholarships-2021">China Scholarship Council - University of Leeds Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to nationals of China (now closed for 2024/25 entry). The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/73-leeds-marshall-scholarship">Leeds Marshall Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support US citizens.&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/60-alumni-bursary">Alumni Bursary</a>&nbsp;is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Important:</strong>&nbsp; Any costs associated with your arrival at the University of Leeds to start your PhD including flights, immigration health surcharge/medical insurance and Visa costs are not covered under this studentship.</p> <p>Please refer to the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/">UKCISA</a>&nbsp;website for information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:11px">For further information about this project, please contact Dr Markus Billeter by email to&nbsp;<a href="mailto:M.Billeter@leeds.ac.uk">M.Billeter@leeds.ac.uk</a></p> <p>For further information about your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email to <a href="mailto:phd@engineering.leeds.ac.uk">phd@engineering.leeds.ac.uk</a></p>