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Press Release

Khronos Releases WebCL 1.0 Specification

March 19, 2014 – San Francisco, Game Developer’s Conference – The Khronos™ Group today announced the ratification and public release of the WebCL™ 1.0 specification. Developed in close cooperation with the Web community, WebCL extends the capabilities of HTML5 browsers by enabling developers to offload computationally intensive processing to available computational resources such as multicore CPUs and GPUs. WebCL defines JavaScript bindings to OpenCL™ APIs that enable Web applications to compile OpenCL C kernels and manage their parallel execution. Like WebGL™, WebCL is expected to enable a rich ecosystem of JavaScript middleware that provides access to accelerated functionality to a wide diversity of Web developers.

WebCL 1.0 supports OpenCL 1.1 Embedded Profile functionality and can also be layered over any conformant OpenCL 1.1 or OpenCL 1.2 implementation. The final WebCL 1.0 specification and links to prototype open source implementations, reference materials, conformance tests and demos are available for immediate download at:

“Samsung is pleased to have assisted in the creation of WebCL through chairing the WebCL Working Group,” said Tasneem Brutch, chair of the WebCL working group, and director at Advanced Software Platforms, Samsung Research America.

“By making parallel computing accessible to millions of Web developers, WebCL enables innovative new online services whose high computational requirements would have previously made them unfeasible,” said Tomi Aarnio, Editor of the WebCL specification and a principal researcher at Nokia Research Center.

WebCL 1.0 features and utilities include:

  • • Standardized, portable and efficient access to heterogeneous multicore computing in the browser, through JavaScript bindings to OpenCL;
  • • Architected and designed for security and robustness using multiple techniques including: leveraging OpenCL security extensions for memory initialization and context termination, and an open source WebCL Validator to enforce security protections, to prevent out of bounds memory accesses and to enforce memory initialization;
  • • Interoperability between WebCL and WebGL, through a defined WebCL extension, to enable Web applications to employ accelerated graphics and compute for rich visual computing applications within the browser;
  • • An open source OpenCL to WebCL Kernel Translator to enable rapid porting of native OpenCL applications to WebCL.

“WebCL is following the proven path of WebGL by exposing a powerful, proven native technology through JavaScript as a flexible foundation for a rich ecosystem of engines, frameworks and middleware that enables Web developers everywhere with significant new capabilities,” said Neil Trevett, chair of the OpenCL working group, president of the Khronos Group and vice president of mobile ecosystem at NVIDIA. “SPIR™, SYCL™ and now WebCL are all innovating around OpenCL, and are a reflection of the growing demand by developers for portable heterogeneous computing APIs that enable harnessing the performance of parallel processors on any device or platform.”

Industry Support

The WebCL 1.0 specification is the result of significant and thoughtful feedback from the Web community based on the public working draft and the Khronos WebCL Working Group, including; Adobe, AMD, Aptina, ARM, Google, Imagination Technologies, Mozilla, Intel, Nokia, NVIDIA, Opera Software, Samsung, and Qualcomm.

“AMD is very excited to see the Khronos Group finalize WebCL 1.0, bringing heterogeneous computing into the family of HTML5 technologies. The web browser is the most convenient and common interface used by connected end-users for investigation, data discovery and exploration. By making it easy to exploit compute capabilities through WebCL, we believe the number of advanced browser based applications will greatly increase,” said Gregory Stoner, senior director, HSA Application Engineering, AMD, and managing director of the HSA Foundation. “AMD is proud to contribute a WebCL implementation for Chrome and is looking for feedback and contributions on this open-source project.”
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“In today’s world, the majority of information is consumed via web applications and the speed with which consumers can get their hands on the necessary data is becoming increasingly critical,” said Trina Watt, vice president of solutions marketing, media processing group, ARM. “ARM Mali™ GPUs have supported OpenCL 1.1 for the past two years and we see WebCL as an enabler for bringing the innovation of heterogeneous computing to browser engines.”

“WebCL is an important step in the evolution of the Web as a platform. Nokia is excited to support its commercial adoption by developers and platform vendors, helping to make robust and secure WebCL implementations widely available,” said Jari Alvinen, director of Web & Internet Technologies in Nokia's CTO organization.

Developer Session at GDC 2014 – “WebCL: A Developers Overview”

Attendees at the San Francisco Game Developer Conference are invited to attend the Khronos presentation “WebCL: A Developers Overview” taking place at 3:00pm on Thursday 20th in the Khronos private meeting room (#262 on the West Mezzanine Level). Space is limited and is available on a first-come first served basis. Full details of this and other Khronos developer sessions at:

Conformance – Enhancing the User Experience

The WebCL working group at Khronos expects to update the WebCL Adopter’s Program to provide extensive conformance tests for WebCL implementations within six months, enabling implementers of the specification to gain access to Conformance Tests to ensure that conformant WebCL implementations provide a reliable, cross-platform browser experience.

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 OpenGL®, OpenGL® ES, WebGL™, OpenCL™, SPIR™, SYCL™, WebCL™, OpenVX™, OpenMAX™, OpenVG™, OpenSL ES™, StreamInput™, 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, DevU, StreamInput, SPIR, SYCL, WebGL, WebCL, COLLADA, OpenKODE, OpenVG, OpenVX, glTF, 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.