and frame-buffer access bottlenecks of conventional hardware rendering architectures (Molnar et al., 1992). It uses the technique of image composition, through which it distributes the rendering task over an array of identical renderers, each of which computes a full-screen image of a fraction of the primitives. A high-performance image-composition network combines these images in real time to produce an image of the entire scene.
Image composition architectures offer performance that scales linearly with the number of renderers. A single PixelFlow renderer rasterizes up to 1.4 million triangles/s, and an n-renderer system can rasterize at up to n times this basic rate. It is expected that a 128 renderer PixelFlow system will be capable of a polygon rate approaching 100 million triangles/s.
PixelFlow performs anti-aliasing by supersampling. It supports deferred shading with separate hardware shaders that operate on composite images containing intermediate pixel data. PixelFlow shaders compute complex shading algorithms and procedural and image-based textures in real time, with the shading rate independent of image complexity. A PixelFlow system can be coupled to a parallel supercomputer to serve as an intermediate-mode graphics server, or it can maintain a display list for retained-mode rendering.