“Hardware acceleration for Window systems” by Rhoden and Wilcox

  • ©Desi Rhoden and Chris Wilcox




    Hardware acceleration for Window systems



    Graphics pipelines are quickly evolving to support multitasking workstations. The driving force behind this evolution is the window system, which must provide high performance graphics within multiple windows, while maintaining interactivity. The virtual graphics system presented by [7] provides a clean solution to the problem of context switching graphics hardware between processes, but does not solve all the problems associated with sharing graphics pipelines.The primary difficulty in context switching a graphics accelerator is the pipeline latency encountered during a pipeline flush. This latency removes the responsiveness and interactivity of the graphics system. As primitives become more complex and pipelines become longer, pipeline latency grows. Hardware solutions are described which further accelerate the window system by eliminating the need for pipeline flushing and resynchronization. An overview of the entire system is presented, highlighting the hardware mechanisms which contribute to window acceleration.


    1. Akeley, Kurt and Jermotuk, Tom. High-Performance Polygon Rendering. Proceedings of SIGGRAPH’88 (Atlanta, Georgia, August 1-5, 1988). In Computer Graphics 22,4 (August 1988), 239-246.
    2. Foley, James and Van Dam, Andries. Fundamentals qf Interactive Computer Graphics Addison-Wesley, Reading, Massachusetts, 1982
    3. Newman, William and Sproull, Robert. Principles of Interactive Computer Graphics. McGraw-Hill, New York, New York, 2cnd edition, 1979
    4. Scheifler, Robert and Gettys, Jim. The X-Window System. ACM Transactions on Graphics 5,2 (April 1986), 79-109.
    5. Swanson, Roger and Thayer, Larry. A Fast Shaded-Polygon Renderer. Proceedings of SIGGRAPH’86 (Dallas, Texas, August 18-22, 1986). In Computer Graphics 20,4 (August 1986), 95-101.
    6. Torborg, John. A Parallel Processor Architecture for Graphics Arithmetic Operations. Proceedings of SIGGRAPH’87 (Anaheim, California, July 27-31, 1987). In Computer Graphics 21,4 (July 1987), 197-204.
    7. Voorhies, Douglas, Kirk, David, and Lathrop, Olin. Virtual Graphics. Proceedings of SIGGRAPH’88 (Atlanta, Georgia, August 1-5, 1988). In Computer Graphics 22,4 (August 1988), 247-253.

ACM Digital Library Publication:

Overview Page: