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Volume 16, No. 13

RTIndeX: Exploiting Hardware-Accelerated GPU Raytracing for Database Indexing

Justus Henneberg, Felix Schuhknecht


Data management on GPUs has become increasingly relevant due to a tremendous rise in processing power and available GPU memory. Similar to main-memory systems, there is a need for performant GPU-resident index structures to speed up query processing. Unfortunately, mapping indexes efficiently to the highly parallel and hard-to-program hardware is challenging and often fails to yield the desired performance and flexibility. Instead of proposing yet another hand-tailored index, we investigate whether we can exploit an indexing mechanism that is already built into modern GPUs: The raytracing hardware accelerator provided by NVIDIA RTX GPUs. To do so, we re-phrase the database indexing problem as a raytracing problem, where we express the dataset to be indexed as objects in a 3D scene, and point/range lookups as rays across the scene. In this combination, coined RX in the following, lookups are performed as intersection tests in hardware by dedicated raytracing cores. To analyze the pros, cons, and usefulness of the raytracing pipeline for database indexing, we carefully evaluate RX along fourteen dimensions and demonstrate its competitiveness and potential in a large variety of situations.

PVLDB is part of the VLDB Endowment Inc.

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