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Framework for performance profiling
AGEIA Technologies Inc, (www.ageia.com) creates PC hardware for accelerating motion and interaction in computer games. The PhysX chip includes a processor that accelerates rigid body, fluid and cloth computations. AGEIA develops a software package, the PhysX SDK, which allows game developers to access the hardware using an API and tools. The software package is available not only for the PhysX platform, but also PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
Since high performance is a very important aspect for all platforms it is of crucial importance that we have adequate methods to do detailed performance profiling and track performance over several versions of the SDK.
Design and develop a framework for detailed performance profiling and performance tracking between several versions of the SDK. The framework should be carefully designed to deal with the following issues:
* Multiple threads. The SDK is designed to utilize multiple cores on all platforms. The performance profiling tool must deal with both measurement across multiple threads and thread synchronization overhead.
* Asynchronous hardware. When running the SDK on the PhysX chip, the performance measurement tool must deal with host synchronization overhead, data transfer overhead, etc.
* Determinism. The output of one physics simulation step depends on the previous state, meaning that if the simulation is not deterministic the final state of two runs of the same simulation can yield very different results. This will affect performance tracking, unless carefully considered.
* Efficient profiling. Measuring detailed performance statistics without affecting the performance is not trivial and must be considered for each platform.
* Version history. The tool should provide a convenient way to compare the performance between different versions of the SDK.
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