Nvidia DesignWorks could make simulated designs more lifelike

It's been a pretty big day for Nvidia's professional graphics group. To go with today's shiny, new Quadro graphics cards, Nvidia has unveiled its DesignWorks initiative, a suite of tools and development libraries for developers of professional design and rendering applications. Nvidia hopes that DesignWorks tools will help developers to incorporate accurate-looking physically-based rendering and materials into their applications. In turn, applications that use DesignWorks tools might help designers create more true-to-life simulations of their work. 

According to Nvidia, the DesignWorks initiative encompasses over two dozen tools, from PhysX and the Grid SDK to the Iray SDK and the company's Material Definition Language (MDL). Developers will also be able to use vMaterials, a "calibrated and verified" library of material and light descriptions using MDL.

DesignWorks covers technology outside of rendering, too. DesignWorks VR is supposed to help developers integrate VR experiences into their products. The OptiX SDK, a GPGPU-accelerated framework for ray-tracing, not only comes under the DesignWorks umbrella today, but it also adds support for Nvidia's Visual Computing Appliance for better scalability.

Before all the AMD fans in the house start screaming "GameWorks for CAD!", it's important to note that some of these features—particularly OptiX, and of course old stand-bys like PhysX—rely on Nvidia's proprietary CUDA GPGPU programming language. Many of these tools appear to be compatible with Nvidia GPUs only.

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