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OpenCL vs: Accelerated finite-difference digital synthesis

Renney, Harri; Gaster, Benedict R; Mitchell, Tom


Harri Renney

Benedict Gaster
Associate Professor in Physical Computing

Tom Mitchell
Associate Professor in Creative Technologies


Digital audio synthesis has become an important component of modern music production with techniques that can produce realistic simulations of real instruments. Physical modelling sound synthesis is a category of audio synthesis that uses mathematical models to emulate the physical phenomena of acoustic musical instruments including drum membranes, air columns and strings. The synthesis of physical phenomena can be expressed as discrete variants of Newton’s laws of motion, using, for example, the Finite-Difference Time-Domain method or FDTD.

FDTD is notoriously computationally expensive and the real time demands of sound synthesis in a live setting has led implementers to consider offloading to GPUs. In this paper we present multiple OpenCL implementations of FDTD for real time simulation of a drum membrane. Additionally, we compare against an AVX optimized CPU implementation and an OpenGL version that utilizes a careful mapping to the GPU texture cache. We find using a discrete, laptop class, AMD GPU that for all but the smallest mesh sizes, the OpenCL implementation out performs the others. Although, to our surprise we found that optimizing for workgroup local memory provided only a small performance benefit.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Start Date May 12, 2019
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Institution Citation Renney, H., Gaster, B. R., & Mitchell, T. (2019, May). OpenCL vs: Accelerated finite-difference digital synthesis. Paper presented at 7th International Workshop on OpenCL
Keywords parallel programming, GPGPU, OpenCL, physical modeling, audio
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : IWOCL'19 - 7th International Workshop on OpenCL


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