by Tonie Hansen

NVIDIA employees are passionate about education. They donate to schools. They volunteer in classrooms. They give backpacks to low-income students. They tutor those grappling with algebra. To match their passion, the NVIDIA Foundation dedicates over half of its annual funding to education-related causes.

That’s why the Foundation didn’t hesitate when approached by the Tech Museum in San Jose, Calif. to develop a demo for their new exhibit, The Tech Silicon Valley Innovation Gallery. In doing so, we’re joined by Adobe, Google and Intel, who are also participating in the project.

Our contribution is called From Math to Magic. It’s a series of three demos designed to teach visitors about the math and science that power today’s computer graphics and video games. Our goal is to help kids understand how math concepts, such as geometry and physics, power the beautiful images they see on the screen, and how doing well in these subjects can lead to a successful career in engineering.

Discussing the exhibit below is John Montrym, chief architect for NVIDIA’s GPU organization, who helped design From Math to Magic.

From Math to Magic is based on the wildly popular Supersonic Sled demo that NVIDIA recently built to show features of our powerful Fermi architecture for GPUs. We re-purposed the demo to educate visitors about rendering and tessellation, as well as allow them to visualize the velocity of the moving objects in the scene. In addition to playing the Supersonic Sled game, visitors can see the effect of changes to texture and lighting on the landscape and examine the geometry of the rocket sled and terrain models.

If you’re in Silicon Valley or plan to be in town for our GPU Technology Conference next week, stop by the Tech to check out our demo.