Steve Molnar's Home Page
UNC Seal Old Well

Steven E. Molnar

Adjunct Associate Professor

Steven Molnar

Contact Information

NVIDIA Corporation
2700 Meridian Pkwy., Suite 100
Durham, NC 27713

(919) 572-1304 (Voice)
(919) 572-4304 (Fax)

Current email address: molnar 'at' nvidia 'dot' com


Research Interests

Parallel architectures for computer graphics. Generating synthetic images of complex scenes in real time requires immense compute power, hence parallelism. The problem is more constrained than conventional parallel computer design, making it a ripe area for special-purpose architectures.

The Pixel-Planes group built a series of image-generation engines, based on the concepts of pixel-parallelism and linear expression evaluation:

* Pixel-Planes 1-4 (1981-1986), which implemented a full-screen pixel parallel array.

* Pixel-Planes 5 (1987-1991), which implemented multiple 128x128 arrays connected by a high-speed ring network.

* PixelFlow (1991-1997), which implemented a parallel rendering system based on real-time depth-based image compositing.

These various architectures also pioneered concepts in programmable shading and antialiasing.

The most recent system, PixelFlow was a linearly scalable architecture--its performance increased linearly with the size of the system. It was based on five high-speed custom chips, and used experimental high-speed, low-voltage signaling technology to composite images at the rates required.

PixelFlow technology was licensed to Hewlett-Packard, Integrated Device Technology, Ivex Corporation, and PixelFusion Ltd. I took part in the development of a full-scale prototype PixelFlow system, done jointly with HP, and demonstrated at Siggraph '97. This system generated over 50 million polygons per second and rendering effects such as bump-mapping, shadows, procedural textures, and particle system smoke.

I'm currently at NVIDIA, working in their (amazing) architecture group, in the Durham, NC NVIDIA office.

I am co-chair of Graphics Hardware 2003, to be held in San Diego July 26-27, 2003. I was co-chair or program chair of the 2001, 1999, and 1997 conferences as well. I served on the SIGGRAPH 1999 papers committee.

Selected Publications

Eyles, J., S. Molnar, J. Poulton, T. Greer, A. Lastra, N. England, and L. Westover, "PixelFlow: The Realization," Proceedings of the 1997 Siggraph/Eurographics Workshop on Graphics Hardware, Los Angeles, CA, Aug. 3-4, 1997, pp. 57-68.

Molnar, S., "The PixelFlow Texture and Image Subsystem", Proceedings of the 10th Eurographics Workshop on Graphics Hardware, Maastricht, The Netherlands, Aug. 28-29, 1995, pp. 3-13.

Lastra, A., S. Molnar, M. Olano, and Y. Wang, "Real-Time Programmable Shading," Proceedings of the 1995 Symposium on Interactive Graphics, Monterey, CA, April 1995, pp. 59-66.

Molnar, S., M. Cox, D. Ellsworth, and H. Fuchs. "A Sorting Classification of Parallel Rendering," IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 14(4), July 1994, 23-32.

Wang, Y., and S. Molnar. "Second-Depth Shadow Mapping," (postscript, 23MB), UNC-CS Technical Report TR94-019, 1994.

Poulton, J., J. Eyles, and S. Molnar, "Breaking the Frame-Buffer Bottlenack: The Case for Logic-Enhanced Memories," IEEE CG&A, Vol. 12. No. 6, Sept., 1992, pp. 65-74.

Molnar, S., J. Eyles, and J. Poulton. "PixelFlow: High-Speed Rendering Using Image Composition," Computer Graphics: Proc. SIGGRAPH '92, Chicago, Ill., 25-31 July 1992, 231-240.

Molnar, S. "Image-Composition Architectures for Real-time Image Generation," UNC-CS Technical Report TR91-046, 1991 (Ph.D. dissertation).

Molnar, S. "Efficient Supersampling Antialiasing for High-performance Architectures," UNC-CS Technical Report TR91-023, 1991.

Molnar, S., and H. Fuchs. "Advanced Raster Graphics Architecture," Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice, 2nd ed., J. Foley, A. van Dam, S. Feiner, and J. Hughes, eds., Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1990, 855-922.

Goldfeather, J., S. Molnar, G. Turk, and H. Fuchs. "Near Real-time CSG Rendering using Tree Normalization and Geometric Pruning," IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications , 9(3), May 1989, 20-28.

Molnar, S., and M. Surles. "A Microprogramming Support Tool for Pipelined Architectures," Proc. 21st Annual Workshop on Microprogramming and Microarchitecture, San Diego, Calif., Nov. 1988, 108-110.

Molnar, S. "Combining Z-buffer Engines for Higher-Speed Rendering," Proc. Eurographics '88 Third Workshop on Graphics Hardware, Nice, France, Sept. 1988, 171-182.

Molnar, S. "Interactive CSG Modeling with Real-time Shaded Display," Proc. BRL-CAD Symposium '88, Aberdeen, Md., June 1988.

Last updated 30 January 2004

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