Big news on the visualization front. Microsoft is introducing DirectX real-time ray tracing (DXR), which will be used by (and is being tested by) most major game engines (Unity, Unreal Engine, etc.). Up till now, only rasterization and culling tricks have been used.
Will affect the realism we see in games, but has big implications for wider use, development, and research on the ray tracing side. This is just the start though:
“DXR will initially be used to supplement current rendering techniques such as screen space reflections, for example, to fill in data from geometry that’s either occluded or off-screen. This will lead to a material increase in visual quality for these effects in the near future. Over the next several years, however, we expect an increase in utilization of DXR for techniques that are simply impractical for rasterization, such as true global illumination. Eventually, raytracing may completely replace rasterization as the standard algorithm for rendering 3D scenes. That said, until everyone has a light-field display on their desk, rasterization will continue to be an excellent match for the common case of rendering content to a flat grid of square pixels, supplemented by raytracing for true 3D effects.”
The article has lots of history and background on rasterization, ray tracing, and how each have/are being used.