Khronos Releases Standardized Data Format Specification

Precise standalone format descriptions enable extensible communication of data between standards and applications

Portland, OR – July 29th 2015 – The Khronos Group today announced the ratification and public release of the Khronos Data Format Specification 1.0.  This new standard provides precise mechanisms to generate machine-readable format descriptions of repetitive data, such as pixels, enabling standards and software to cleanly communicate and interoperate.  This royalty-free specification will be used across multiple Khronos API initiatives, and is open to be used by third party standards and applications. The Khronos Data Format Specification and additional information is available at:

“The minefield of data formats and their interpretation by each API is one of the most challenging areas of integration of device components, and interoperation between them,” said Alon Or-bach, chair of the EGL Working Group. “The Khronos Data Format Specification provides a clean and complete descriptor to describe all common formats and enables APIs to define clear mappings to them. This will improve life for device integrators, and be an invaluable tool for applications that depend on data flowing between different hardware blocks, such as computer vision and augmented reality.”

Today, many standards use proprietary enumerated data descriptions that are not extensible, and are often incompletely specified, resulting in data conversion errors and incompatibilities. By using a descriptive data format, software can flexibly and reliably use a large number of possible formats without specifically coding for each one. The Khronos Data Format Specification supports versioning and extensions, as well as storing common data interpretation details to avoid the need for separate metadata.

This specification has already been used to describe precise descriptions for Vulkan™ and OpenVX™ internal data formats.  APIs can also define extensions with data format descriptors to be used for both interoperation between multiple standards and for describing user-visible data.

Working Group Member Quotes

“The Khronos Data Format Specification simplifies sharing data between APIs, improving the efficiency of complex applications,” said James Jones, senior software engineer at NVIDIA. “As a world leader in visual computing, NVIDIA supports the adoption of precisely defined data formats in both Khronos and third-party standards.”

“To stay at the cutting edge of the industry both in graphics and multimedia, Samsung combines many software and hardware technologies from different sources inside and outside of the company,” said Steve Gi-Byoung Park, managing director of Samsung R&D Institute UK. “The Khronos Data Format Specification offers a consistent and unambiguous way to describe and interpret buffers, images and textures, reducing the development effort in integrating these components and improving the time-to-market of Samsung’s innovations.”

About The Khronos Group

The Khronos Group is an industry consortium creating open standards to enable the authoring and acceleration of parallel computing, graphics, vision, sensor processing and dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices.  Khronos standards include Vulkan™, OpenGL®, OpenGL® ES, WebGL™, OpenCL™, SPIR™, SPIR-V™, SYCL™, WebCL™, OpenVX™, EGL™, COLLADA™, and glTF™.  All Khronos members are enabled to contribute to the development of Khronos specifications, are empowered to vote at various stages before public deployment, and are able to accelerate the delivery of their cutting-edge media platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests.  More information is available at



Khronos, Vulkan, DevU, SPIR, SPIR-V, SYCL, WebGL, WebCL, COLLADA, OpenKODE, OpenVG, OpenVX, EGL, glTF, OpenKCAM, StreamInput , OpenWF, OpenSL ES and OpenMAX are trademarks of the Khronos Group Inc. ASTC is a trademark of ARM Holdings PLC, OpenCL is a trademark of Apple Inc. and OpenGL is a registered trademark and the OpenGL ES and OpenGL SC logos are trademarks of Silicon Graphics International used under license by Khronos. All other product names, trademarks, and/or company names are used solely for identification and belong to their respective owners.