Khronos Releases OpenCL 2.1 and SPIR-V 1.0 Specifications for Heterogeneous Parallel Programming

Supercomputing 2015– November 16th 2015 – Austin, TX –The Khronos Group, an open consortium of leading hardware and software companies, today announced the ratification and public release of the OpenCL™ 2.1 and SPIR-V™ 1.0 specifications for heterogeneous parallel computation. Consumption of the new SPIR-V cross-API intermediate language is guaranteed in the core OpenCL 2.1 specification. Khronos has released open source utilities and extensions to enable use of SPIR-V in OpenCL 1.2 and 2.0, as well as the upcoming Vulkan™ graphics API, ensuring widespread availability of its powerful runtime capabilities for developers of parallel computation languages and frameworks. The OpenCL C++ kernel language released in the OpenCL 2.1 provisional specification is being finalized and will be released imminently, also using SPIR-V for run-time execution. The OpenCL 2.1 specification is available for immediate download at www.khronos.org/opencl/ and SPIR-V 1.0 is available at http://www.khronos.org/spir/.

SPIR-V 1.0 is an intermediate language fully defined by Khronos with unique, native support for graphics shaders and computational kernels. By providing a well formed compiler target, SPIR-V enables splitting of the compiler chain in graphics and compute intensive environments, so that high-level language and framework front-ends can emit programs to be efficiently executed by Vulkan or OpenCL drivers. Eliminating the need for a built-in high-level language source compiler significantly reduces GPU driver complexity and encourages a diversity of language front-ends. Additionally, a standardized intermediate language provides a measure of kernel IP protection, accelerated kernel load times and enables developers to use a common language front-end, improving kernel reliability and portability across multiple runtime implementations.

“The use of SPIR-V by Vulkan and OpenCL will fundamentally reshape the graphics and compute ecosystem by enabling diverse language and middleware front-ends to leverage the hardware community’s investment in optimized back-end drivers,” said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group and chair of the OpenCL working group and vice president at NVIDIA. “OpenCL 2.1 places the power of SPIR-V into the hands of developers as quickly as possible while we put the finishing touches to the OpenCL C++ kernel language, which we are working to finalize and release as early as mid-2016.”

In parallel with the availability of the OpenCL 2.1 and SPIR-V 1.0 specifications, Khronos has released a number of open source utilities on GitHub to catalyze the use of SPIR-V:

     
  • A bi-directional translator between LLVM to SPIR-V to enable flexible use of both intermediate languages in tool chains;
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  • An OpenCL C to LLVM compiler that generates SPIR-V through the above translator;
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  • A SPIR-V assembler and disassembler.

In addition to these Khronos initiatives, there is already significant open source community activity using SPIR-V. Further details on these open source projects can be found here: https://www.khronos.org/spir/resources.

In addition to SPIR-V 1.0 support, OpenCL 2.1 brings enhancements to the OpenCL API, including:

     
  • Subgroups, which enable finer grain control of hardware threading, are now in core, together with additional subgroup query operations for increased flexibility;
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  • clCloneKernel enables copying of kernel objects and state for safe implementation of copy constructors in wrapper classes;
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  • Low-latency device timer queries for alignment of profiling data between device and host code.

Industry Support for OpenCL 2.1 and SPIR-V 1.0
“AMD is thrilled to see OpenCL™ include a standard intermediate language as a core component. We believe this opens the door for further innovation in high-level programming languages which can fully leverage the compute power of OpenCL capable devices,” says Greg Stoner, senior director at AMD. “We applaud the efforts of both the compute and graphics communities for defining a standard that can support both - this represents real progress for the industry.”

“We are excited to be part of this move forward with SPIR-V and OpenCL 2.1,” said Andrew Richards, CEO of Codeplay. “This also benefits C++ application developers since the Khronos SYCL™ framework for single source C++ programming will therefore be available on all OpenCL 2.1 enabled platforms.”

“Achieving high compute performance within a limited power budget is essential to the new wave of functions and apps in embedded and mobile systems. Heterogeneous compute is now firmly established as the way to achieve that, and Imagination is delighted that Khronos is directly addressing this objective with the OpenCL 2.1 and SPIR-V 1.0 standards,” said Peter McGuinness, director of multimedia technology marketing, Imagination Technologies. “GPU compute is the bedrock of massively parallel power-efficient acceleration, and these new standards will stimulate the rapid deployment of more functional, compelling apps across a wide range of platforms.”

“Mobica is excited by all of the recent developments from the Khronos Group in graphics and parallel computing. The bringing together of OpenCL 2.1 and Vulkan to use SPIR-V 1.0 as an intermediate language in core is excellent news for the graphics and parallel computing industry,” said Jim Carroll, CTO Mobica.

OpenCL at Supercomputing 2015
  There are OpenCL-related presentations and activities at Supercomputing 2015 in Austin on November 15-20th:

OpenCL Booth #285
  The OpenCL Booth is the go-to place at SC’15 to engage in technical conversations about OpenCL, SYCL, and SPIR. Visit the booth to receive free OpenCL, SPIR™, and SYCL stickers and OpenCL 2.1 and SYCL 1.2 reference guides.

Tutorial: Portable Programs for Heterogeneous Computing: A Hands-on Introduction
  Monday, Nov 16 | 8:30am - 5:00pm | Room 17B
  This tutorial will provide lectures and exercises where students can use their own laptops (Windows, Linux or OS/X) to log into a remote OpenCL server. More information and calendar links.

OpenCL BOF: Flocking Together: Experience the Diverse OpenCL Ecosystem
  Wednesday, Nov 18 | 5:30pm – 7:00pm | Room 17AB
  The strength of OpenCL is in how it was created and maintained by a consortium of like-minded organizations. This session will start with an overview of the newly released OpenCL 2.1 and SPIR-V 1.0 specifications and the SYCL 1.2 abstraction layers. Attendees will have the opportunity to experiment with implementations and tools from multiple vendors, including Altera, AMD, Codeplay Software, Intel, and Xilinx. We invite attendees to bring their code and their toughest questions and join the OpenCL many-core mashup. More information and calendar links.

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 www.khronos.org.

 

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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.

MAXON JOINS THE KHRONOS GROUP

Developer of Cinema 4D Brings 3D Know-how to International Consortium for Open Standards

Friedrichsdorf, Germany – November 04, 2015: MAXON, the leading developer of professional 3D modeling, painting, animation and rendering solutions, is pleased to announce it has joined the Khronos™ Group industry consortium. By joining the Khronos Group, MAXON reasserts its ongoing commitment to support the development of open standards that enable the authoring and acceleration of 3D graphics, games and media on a wide variety of platforms and devices. MAXON will work intensively on the definition and implementation of open exchange and render formats.

The Khronos Group is a non-profit consortium, founded by leading manufacturers in the CG industry and is based in Beaverton, Oregon. The Khronos Group’s goal is the development and deployment of uniform, open formats for the rendering and exchange of graphic and dynamic content, including libraries such as OpenGL, WebGL and the COLLADA format, which have already established themselves as industry standards or are on their way in doing so. Khronos Group members actively support the development of the Khronos API specifications and communicate throughout all phases of development with regard to universal standards that make graphics content cross-platform compatible and accessible on various output devices.

MAXON has always been dedicated to providing users tools that offer an intuitive workflow and cross-platform compatibility,” explains MAXON Computer CTO and co-founder Harald Schneider. “Open standards for file exchange and rendering graphics are a foundation for the successful cooperation of artists on their projects. We are glad to offer Khronos our expertise from more than 25 successful years in 3D computer graphics development.

Cinema 4D has already been offering support for several of the formats and specifications defined by Khronos, such as COLLADA and OpenGL, for several years. Additional formats can be implemented more effectively and continuously refined by the members of the Khronos Group.

About Khronos Group:
The Khronos Group is a not for profit, member-funded consortium focused on the creation of royalty-free open standards for parallel computing, graphics and dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices. All Khronos members are able to contribute to the development of Khronos API specifications, are empowered to vote at various stages before public deployment, and are able to accelerate the delivery of their cutting-edge 3D platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests. To get involved, please visit our Summary of Membership Rights and Benefits and review our diagram of "How the Khronos Group Works".

Further info about Khronos Group:
www.khronos.org

Khronos Finalizes glTF 1.0 Specification for Efficient, Interoperable Transmission of 3D Scenes and Models

Extensible format to enable ongoing innovation in 3D streaming and compression

HTML5DevConf– October 19th 2015 – San Francisco, CA –The Khronos Group, an open consortium of leading hardware and software companies, today announced that the glTF™ 1.0 (GL Transmission Format ) royalty-free specification for transmission and loading of 3D content has been finalized for Ratification and is immediately available for use by tools and application vendors.  glTF is an efficient, interoperable asset delivery format that compresses the size of 3D scenes and models, and minimizes runtime processing by applications using WebGL™ and other APIs.  glTF also defines a common publishing format for 3D content tools and services. More information on glTF specifications and activities is available at: https://www.khronos.org/gltf/.

“Amazing market opportunities are created when a standard emerges for efficiently transmitting and processing media data across the Internet.  glTF will be as significant for 3D applications as JPEG and MP3 were for pictures and music,” said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group and vice president at NVIDIA and chair of the Khronos 3D Formats Working Group.  “glTF 1.0 provides baseline asset transport capabilities that every 3D application can use, and enables powerful extensibility for ongoing innovation in asset streaming and compression.”

Traditional 3D modeling formats, such as COLLADA™, are designed to exchange 3D assets within authoring workflows, but are not optimized for download or loading efficiency.  Many applications convert assets to proprietary runtime formats, preventing tools from producing standardized models that can be consumed by any 3D application.

glTF defines a vendor- and runtime-neutral format that can be loaded and rendered with minimal processing. The format combines an easily parsable JSON scene and material description, which references binary geometry, textures and animations.  glTF can be loaded efficiently into WebGL applications with minimal additional parsing and processing to create full hierarchical runtime scenes with nodes, meshes, cameras and animations.

“The WebGL and OpenGL™ APIs have brought 3D visualization to billions of consumers,” observed Tony Parisi, vice president of Platform Products at WEVR and co-editor of the glTF specification.  “But until now there was no standardized way to get 3D data into those applications. glTF will enable a proliferation of 3D content for applications including entertainment, education, digital marketing, social media, and virtual reality, across all platforms.”

3D models and scenes may be used in a wide variety of applications, and so glTF is an extensible format to enable ongoing innovation around delivery, compression and streaming technologies for diverse use cases. Any company may define a vendor extension to glTF to meet their business needs, and Khronos provides a cooperative forum for widely used extensions to be standardized.  Extensions available at the launch of glTF 1.0 include the ability to use binary scene descriptions and high precision rendering for geospatial applications.   Extensions in development include sophisticated streaming of very large 3D CAD models from Fraunhofer IGD and advanced 3D mesh compression using 3DGC technology from the MPEG Consortium.

The glTF specification has been openly developed with the specification and source of multiple converters and loaders freely available on GitHub.  Tools available at launch include offline and online convertors from COLLADA to glTF produced by Khronos, Analytical Graphics Inc. and Motorola Mobility, an FBX to glTF convertor in development by Autodesk, and loaders for leading WebGL engines including three.js, Microsoft’s Babylon.js, Cesium and X3DOM.

Industry Support

“In an industry characterized by a myriad of proprietary 3D formats, glTF addresses the need for standardization and sets the foundation for an ecosystem of OpenGL-based viewing and processing tools,” said Stefano Corazza, senior principal scientist at Adobe.

“glTF has some remarkable features that will make it simple for developers to include and run 3D digital assets in their web or mobile applications,” said Cyrille Fauvel, senior ADN Sparks manager at Autodesk.

“Unlocking 3D content from proprietary desktop applications to the cloud creates massive new opportunities for collaboration. Designers can share their work much earlier in the process, makers can show what their objects will look like before being printed, educators can incorporate interactive elements to the courses they produce, and much more. This future is so close we can feel it - the hardware is capable, the browsers are capable, now if only we could solve the content pipeline. Having an interoperable standard for tools manufacturers and engine developers to work against is a huge step - go glTF!,” said Ross McKegney , Platform @ Box.

“glTF will enable WebGL engines to reuse an ecosystem of asset pipeline tools, which will help both engines and tools move forward faster,” said Patrick Cozzi, principal graphics architect, Cesium.

“We are actively participating in the development of glTF because we strongly believe that declarative 3D and large model visualization will benefit from a standard for the efficient transmission of 3D resources,” said Johannes Behr, head of department Visual Computing System Technologies at Fraunhofer IGD.

“The conversion process of heavy elements such CAD and 3D sensor data is currently cumbersome due to a broken chain of legacy file formats and standardization gaps.  Even though cloud computing and perceptual wearable hardware is capable of supporting interactive visual elements, 3D quality and visual trade-offs are almost inevitable when streaming to hands-free displays. glTF will democratize this process while removing obstacles for a number of once complex use cases.  It will be especially useful for Augmented and Mixed Reality interoperability,” said Sam Murley, Research & Development Manager, DMI.

“It was obvious for the babylon.js team that glTF was a must have feature in order to integrate well within the 3D ecosystem,” said David Catuhe, principal program manager at Microsoft and author of babylon.js.

“Once the work began on glTF, the Babylon.js team quickly understood that glTF is set to become a highly significant standard,” said Julien Moreau-Mathis, Babylon.js team member, Microsoft.

“Defining a 3D graphics transmission model is challenging due to the extensive diversity of 3D graphics representations and use cases. Consequently, in contrast with images and video, the 3D ecosystem is being held back by a lack of a simple and universally efficient data representation. glTF has an important role by defining a foundation on which application specific compression and transmission components can be incrementally added. We are looking forward to glTF extensions to enable efficient MPEG compression technologies for 3D graphics to be widely deployed,” said Marius Preda of the MPEG Consortium.

“The Open Geospatial Consortium is currently developing a 3D Portrayal Service that enables interoperable visualization of distributed 3D geospatial data. glTF perfectly fits into this development as a data delivery format  due to its compression and streaming capabilities,” said Volker Coors, chair 3D portrayal service standard working group, Open Geospatial Consortium.

“SRC is designed to exactly match Shape geometry in the Extensible 3D (X3D) International Specification, with proven HTML5 compatibility demonstrated by the open-source X3DOM project.  The Web3D Consortium is eager to integrate SRC compression and stream-ability as part of X3D version 4 development.  Web3D members are keen to continue partnered work with Khronos in this important area of Web interoperability,” said Don Brutzman, X3D working group chair.

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 www.khronos.org.

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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.

Khronos Invites Industry Participation to Create Safety Critical Graphics and Compute Standards

New ‘Safety Critical’ working group to adapt OpenGL ES and Vulkan APIs
for markets requiring system certification - including avionics and automotive

SIGGRAPH August 10th 2015 – Los Angeles, CA –The Khronos Group, an open consortium of leading hardware and software companies, today announced it is launching a new Safety Critical working group to develop open graphics and compute acceleration standards for markets that require system safety certification. Khronos previously developed the OpenGL® SC 1.0 specification that defined a safety critical subset of OpenGL ES 1.0. The new working group will adapt more recent Khronos standards including OpenGL ES with programmable shaders, and the new generation Vulkan™ API for high-efficiency graphics and compute. Work on detailed proposals is already underway, and companies interested to participate are welcome to join Khronos for a voice and a vote in the development process.  More information on Khronos safety critical specifications and activities is available at: https://www.khronos.org/safetycritical.

“Visual computing acceleration will be a vital component of many emerging safety critical market opportunities including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), autonomous vehicles and new generation avionics systems,” said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group and vice president at NVIDIA.  “The new Safety Critical working group will build on the experience of shipping OpenGL SC, but now can adapt the latest open standards in the Khronos ecosystem for markets with demanding system certification requirements.”

The new Safety Critical working group is an evolution of the OpenGL ES Safety Critical Working Group that released the OpenGL SC 1.0 specification in 2005 with a fixed function graphics pipeline, with minor updates to OpenGL SC 1.0.1 in 2009. The working group will use DO-178C Level A / EASA ED-12C Level A as the safety critical benchmark for the avionics industry and ISO 26262 certifability to satisfy the safety critical requirements of the automotive industry.  The working group is also working to align its specifications with the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™) consortium (www.opengroup.us/face) technical standard for graphics.

Industry Support

“Codeplay is excited to be contributing in this evolution of Khronos standards for safety critical solutions,” says Andrew Richards, CEO of Codeplay. “We are strongly involved in Khronos standards and the safety critical working groups will enable computer vision systems to prevent car accidents and save lives.”

“The development of a next generation Khronos graphics standard for safety critical systems is an important step to advance avionics, automotive, and other high reliability display systems,” says Steve Viggers, vice president of software at CoreAVI.

“KNU fully supports Khronos developing new graphics and computing API standards for safety critical applications,” says Nakhoon Baek, professor of Kyungpook National University.  “We expect that these new standard APIs will be widely used in safety-related applications by enabling the appropriate software quality certification process for each industry segment. As an academic organization, KNU will work to develop training programs, applications, tools and solutions using these new standard APIs.”

“Next generation automotive solutions call for advanced vision, rendering and compute capabilities in a high reliability system. Texas Instruments is focused on making cars safer and smarter through technology innovations and is excited to be participating in definition of Khronos standards for Safety Critical systems,” says Anand Balagopalakrishnan, architect, automotive graphics at Texas Instruments.

“It’s exciting to see the industry rally around building the next generation of Khronos safety critical APIs,” said Erik Noreke, technology visionary and Safety Critical working group chair. “As intelligent systems are being asked to take over more and more complex tasks, the need for safety critical standards for graphics, compute and vision processing is increasing at an astounding rate.”

3D Graphics API State of the Union BOF at SIGGRAPH 2015

Attendees at the SIGGRAPH 2015 Conference in Los Angeles are invited to the Khronos 3D Graphics API BOF at 5-7PM on Wednesday 15th at the JW Marriott LA Live in the Platinum Ballroom Salon F-I, immediately adjacent to the Convention Centre, to hear more details around the latest developments in the 3D ecosystem.  Full details of this and other Khronos-related SIGGRAPH sessions online at https://khr.io/sig2015.

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 www.khronos.org.

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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.

Khronos Expands Scope of 3D Open Standard Ecosystem

New generation Vulkan graphics and compute API supported by Android;
OpenGL ES 3.2 specification embraces AEP functionality for mobile;
Cutting edge desktop 3D hardware enabled with new OpenGL extensions

Download the Khronos Press Briefing slidedeck

SIGGRAPH August 10th 2015 – Los Angeles, CA –The Khronos Group, an open consortium of leading hardware and software companies, today announced significantly expanded scope and momentum for its family of open standard 3D graphics APIs.  Vulkan™, the new generation API for high-efficiency access to graphics and compute on modern GPUs, is on track for implementation and specifications later this year. It has received support from Android, SteamOS, Tizen, and multiple Linux distributions, including Ubuntu and Red Hat.   The new OpenGL® ES 3.2 specification absorbs AEP (Android Extension Pack) functionality to enhance pervasive graphics capabilities across mobile, consumer, and automotive devices.  A set of OpenGL extensions will also expose the very latest capabilities of desktop hardware.   More information on all Khronos specifications is available at: https://www.khronos.org.

About Vulkan

Vulkan gives applications direct control over GPU acceleration for maximized performance and predictability, and uses Khronos’ new SPIR-V™ intermediate language specification for shading language flexibility.  Vulkan minimizes driver overhead and enables multi-threaded performance on mobile, desktop, console, and embedded platforms.  In parallel with finalizing the Vulkan specification, Khronos is working to drive an in-depth Vulkan ecosystem to:

  • Reach out to key non-Khronos developers for feedback during specification drafting;
  • Construct an open source Vulkan conformance test suite leveraging and merging with the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) drawElements Quality Program (dEQP) framework to enable direct feedback and contributions from developers to resolve cross-vendor inconsistencies;
  • Develop a Vulkan tools architecture that can load code validation, debugging and profiling layers during development, without impacting production performance.  The first open source, cross-vendor Vulkan SDK is being developed by Valve working with LunarG;
  • Build key SPIR-V tools in open source, including translators from GLSL, OpenCL C and C++, a validator to check the correctness of any SPIR-V file and a SPIR-V assembler/disassembler.

“Hardware and software companies need an open 3D API to maximize market reach and minimize porting costs, and Vulkan is being forged by a broad consortium of industry leaders to do exactly that,” said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group. “Vulkan’s adoption and availability on platforms such as Android, Windows, Linux and SteamOS will ensure strong developer support - creating a wealth of high-quality content and applications for any platform that leverages this royalty-free standard.”

About OpenGL ES 3.2

The new OpenGL ES 3.2 and OpenGL ES Shading Language 3.20 specifications bring AEP, plus additional functionality, into core OpenGL ES.  AEP is a set of OpenGL ES extensions announced last year to bring console-class gaming to Android.  OpenGL ES 3.2 will drive the pervasive availability of advanced desktop-class graphics functionality on a large class of mobile, consumer and automotive hardware, and will be adopted by Android.  OpenGL ES 3.2 capabilities include:

  • Geometry and tessellation shaders to efficiently process complex scenes on the GPU;
  • Floating point render targets for increased flexibility in higher precision compute operations;
  • ASTC compression to reduce the memory footprint and bandwidth used to process textures;
  • Enhanced blending for sophisticated compositing and handling of multiple color attachments;
  • Advanced texture targets such as texture buffers, multisample 2D array and cube map arrays; 
  • Debug and robustness features for easier code development and secure execution.

About OpenGL Extensions

The OpenGL extensions released today expose cutting-edge desktop graphics capabilities and pave the way for new versions of OpenGL when this functionality is pervasively available, including:

  • Streamlined sparse texture functionality to more effectively manage multisample sparse textures and uncommitted and unpopulated texture areas;
  • Enhanced shader functionality including interlocks to efficiently ensure proper execution order for multi-pass algorithms, 64-bit integer handling, control of coverage results in sample masks for early fragment testing, enhanced atomic counter capabilities and a 64-bit monotonically incrementing counter to derive local timing information;
  • Control over the number of threads used to compile shaders to accelerate compilation time;
  • Modifiable locations of samples within a pixel to increase multisample antialiasing quality;

Lastly, the OpenGL ES 3.2 compatibility extension enables the use of desktop OpenGL to develop mobile applications.

Industry Support

“AMD is thrilled to see the adoption this low-level, high-performance graphics API into an industry standard such as Vulkan” said Raja Koduri, corporate vice president, engineering, AMD.  “At AMD, we strive to deliver maximum performance and control into the talented hands of game and graphics application developers everywhere and we see Vulkan as an excellent step in that direction.”

“As a founding member of Khronos, ARM is fully supportive of the latest specification of open standard 3D graphics APIs,” said Jem Davies, vice president of technology, media processing group, ARM. “As the number of graphical devices in everyday life continues to grow, the new OpenGL ES and Vulkan APIs are important steps in enabling game and application developers to provide richer and more energy-efficient user experiences.”

“Intel is excited to be part of the continued rapid development of graphics APIs like Vulkan and OpenGL ES 3.2 and to showcase these APIs running on our hardware at SIGGRAPH 2015,” said Aaron Coday, director of visual computing engineering, Intel. “We can't wait to see what application developers can do with the new features and performance benefits they offer on Intel Architecture.”

“Imagination is proud to contribute to the continued development of Khronos APIs for mobile graphics. We believe that the availability and continued development of cutting edge, cross platform, open APIs like OpenGL ES and Vulkan is essential for a vibrant, healthy graphics ecosystem,” said Peter McGuinness, director of multimedia technology marketing, Imagination Technologies.

“Graphics developers need the best tools and APIs, so today NVIDIA is releasing the new OpenGL extensions and OpenGL ES 3.2 on Windows XP through 8.1 and Linux*,” said Barthold Lichtenbelt, senior director of Tegra graphics software at NVIDIA and chair of the OpenGL working group. “We welcome Vulkan’s adoption by Google, and will continue to work to ensure this new open standard enables amazing graphics across many platforms, including Android.” 

“Qualcomm Technologies has been a major contributor to the development of Vulkan which we intend to support with our upcoming Qualcomm Adreno™ GPUs for Qualcomm Snapdragon™ processors. We believe the Vulkan API will significantly reduce single-threaded overhead and increase multi-threaded efficiency, and consequently reduce power consumption for advanced mobile graphics applications,” said Avinash Seetharamaiah, senior director of engineering, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.  “Furthermore, we think the advancements with the Vulkan API will help mobile game developers more easily and efficiently bring console game content to Snapdragon mobile devices. We look forward to the migration of efficiency improvements from Vulkan to the other widely used APIs from Khronos,” Seetharamaiah added. “We welcome the arrival of OpenGL ES 3.2, bringing features like hardware tessellation and geometry shaders to OpenGL ES, because providing console-class graphics features in the mobile space is a step we support wholeheartedly with our world class Adreno GPU solutions.”

“Samsung enhances consumer’s mobile experience through innovative technologies and we are convinced that Vulkan will enable highly improved gaming experiences to our users,” said Hyunho Park, senior vice president of the system software R&D team at Samsung Electronics. “Samsung has been deeply engaged within Khronos to shape the Vulkan API – especially in the formation of the Window System Integration standard with broad platform support. We will rapidly drive adoption of the Vulkan to the mobile ecosystem to provide a high-performance, cross-platform graphics standards to game developers and consumers.”

3D Graphics API State of the Union BOF at SIGGRAPH 2015

Attendees at the SIGGRAPH 2015 Conference in Los Angeles are invited to the Khronos 3D Graphics API BOF at 5-7PM on Wednesday 15th at the JW Marriott LA Live in the Platinum Ballroom Salon F-I, immediately adjacent to the Convention Centre, to hear more details around the latest developments in the 3D ecosystem.  Full details of this and other Khronos-related SIGGRAPH sessions online: https://khr.io/sig2015

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 www.khronos.org.

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: https://www.khronos.org/dataformat.

“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 www.khronos.org.

 

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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.

Industry Momentum Building for OpenVX Computer Vision Acceleration API

Production and open source sample implementations shipping;
  Specification update available; OpenVX tutorial at CVPR 2015

June 4th 2015 – The Khronos Group today announced the ratification and public release of the OpenVX™ 1.0.1 specification, a maintenance update to the open, royalty-free standard for cross platform acceleration of computer vision applications.  OpenVX 1.0.1 integrates bug fixes and clarifications resulting from feedback from working group members and the wider industry implementing and using the specification.  OpenVX enables performance and power-optimized computer vision processing, especially important in embedded and real-time uses cases such as face, body and gesture tracking, smart video surveillance, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), object and scene reconstruction, augmented reality, visual inspection, robotics and more.  In addition to the OpenVX conformance tests and Adopters Program launched in late 2014, Khronos is now shipping an open source, fully-conformant CPU-based implementation of OpenVX 1.0 that runs on Linux, Android or Windows.  The full OpenVX 1.0.1 specification and details about the sample implementation are available at www.khronos.org/openvx.

OpenVX at CVPR2015

Members of the OpenVX working group are organizing an OpenVX tutorial at the CVPR 2015 conference in Boston that will be held in the afternoon of June 7th.  The tutorial will discuss when vision developers might choose to use OpenVX, OpenCV or OpenCL™, and provide an introduction to OpenVX by mapping example computational photography and driver assistance algorithms to the OpenVX graph API. The second half of the tutorial will be a practice session, solving a computer vision problem using the OpenVX sample implementation, followed by a chance for attendees to write their own OpenVX sample code and chat with OpenVX experts. More information on the OpenVX tutorial is here.

OpenVX defines a higher level of abstraction for execution and memory models than compute frameworks such as OpenCL, enabling significant implementation innovation and efficient execution on a wide range of architectures while maintaining a consistent vision acceleration API for application portability.  An OpenVX developer expresses a connected graph of vision nodes that an implementer can execute and optimize through a wide variety of techniques such as: acceleration on CPUs, GPUs, DSPs or dedicated hardware, compiler optimizations, node coalescing, and tiled execution to keep sections of processed images in local memories.  This architectural agility enables OpenVX applications on a diversity of systems optimized for different levels of power and performance, including very battery-sensitive, vision-enabled, wearable displays. The precisely defined specification and conformance tests for OpenVX make it ideal for deployment in production systems where cross-vendor consistency and reliability are essential.

OpenVX 1.0 has been finalized for just a few months, but already production implementations are beginning to ship into the market including the recently announced OpenVX-capable IP core by Vivante

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™, 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 www.khronos.org.

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Khronos, Vulkan, DevU, StreamInput, SPIR, SPIR-V, SYCL, WebGL, WebCL, COLLADA, OpenKODE, OpenVG, OpenVX, EGL, 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.

Khronos Releases SYCL 1.2 Final Specification

C++ single-source heterogeneous programming for OpenCL 1.2

May 11th 2015, IWOCL, Stanford University, CA – The Khronos™ Group,an open consortium of leading hardware and software companies, today announced the ratification and public release of the finalized SYCL ™ 1.2 specification.  SYCL for OpenCL™ enables code for heterogeneous processors to be written in a “single-source” style using completely standard C++.  The multi-vendor SYCL 1.2 standard is available royalty-free for industry use, and the full specification together with details about the SYCL conformance test suite and Adopters Program can be found at www.khronos.org/sycl.

SYCL single-source programming enables host and kernel code to be contained in the same source file, using the same templates for both, with full OpenCL acceleration.  Developers can program at a higher level than OpenCL C, but always have access to existing code through seamless integration with OpenCL programs, C/C++ libraries and frameworks such as OpenMP.  SYCL includes templates and lambda functions for higher-level application software that can be cleanly coded for optimized acceleration across the extensive range of shipping OpenCL 1.2 implementations.  

“SYCL is complementary to the ongoing evolution of the OpenCL kernel language and we see the lessons and technologies from SYCL and the evolving OpenCL C++ kernel language merging and influencing each other over time,” said Andrew Richards, chair of the SYCL working group and CEO of Codeplay.  “C++ programing techniques can help provide performance portability for OpenCL applications by providing highly adaptive parallel software than is easily used and re-used.”

OpenCL’s interop capability is inherited by SYCL to enable applications to use SYCL in conjunction with OpenGL, DirectX and the upcoming Vulkan API without memory-copy overhead.  In return, SYCL can provide simplified error handling and effective compute and communication overlap between host and devices.

SYCL 1.2 can be implemented to work with a variety of existing and new C++ compilers and layers over OpenCL 1.2 implementations from diverse vendors.  SYCL 1.2 builds on the features of C++11, with additional support for C++14 and also will enable C++17 Parallel STL programs to be accelerated on OpenCL devices in the future.   SYCL 1.2 also builds on the Khronos SPIR™ 1.2 portable binary format and fully leverages the ongoing work at the OpenCL and SPIR working groups at Khronos with the aim to provide long-term support for future OpenCL capabilities, including OpenCL 2.1 and SPIR-V™.

The C++ standards body is working on a new Parallel STL standard for C++17. To support this effort, Khronos is kick-starting an open-source project to support Parallel STL on top of SYCL, running on OpenCL devices.This project is hosted at https://github.com/KhronosGroup/SyclParallelSTL.

See SYCL at IWOCL 2015

Khronos is pleased to have a notable profile at IWOCL 2015, the 3rd International Workshop on OpenCL. IWOCL is a community led meeting of OpenCL developers, researchers and suppliers to share OpenCL best practice and to advance the OpenCL standard. More information on IWOCL, including how to register, can be found at www.iwocl.org. Khronos SYCL sessions are as follows:

  • May 12, 9:30AM: in-depth tutorial “Khronos SYCL for OpenCL”
  • May 12, 3:30PM: a FREE “Khronos Developer Feedback and Panel Discussion” covering OpenCL 2.1, SYCL 1.2 and SPIR
  • May 13 12:10PM: SYCL working group chair Andrew Richards will be presenting on SYCL 1.2.

Industry Support for SYCL

“It is great to see innovation in higher-level programming languages that tap into the tremendous compute power of OpenCL capable devices” says Greg Stoner, senior director at AMD.  “Providing developers with a single-source C++ programming model that runs across multiple vendor devices showcases the potential that an open compute standard can deliver.  We look forward to seeing this trend continue to unfold in the future.”

“At Codeplay, we believe software developers benefit from working with open standards because it gives them the greatest flexibility to deploy their software to their customers,” said Maria Rovatsou, Principal Software Engineer, SYCL technologies, Codeplay.  “At the same time, we recognize that users are demanding ever higher-performance software and longer battery lifetimes on devices that are available everywhere. We worked hard to fulfill this challenge to give C++ developers the full power and performance of OpenCL via the SYCL open standard.”

“At Imagination, we are committed to helping drive standards around heterogeneous processing and GPU compute. We’re delighted to see SYCL running on PowerVR GPUs, extending the power and efficiency of GPU accelerated computing to a greater number of mobile apps developers” said Peter McGuinness, director of Multimedia Technology Marketing, Imagination Technologies.”

“Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. worked with Khronos on the specification of SYCL 1.2 in order to help enable mobile developers to utilize C++ for programming OpenCL-supporting GPUs,” said Eric Demers, vice president of GPU hardware at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “SYCL 1.2 has the potential to enable the development of portable libraries that abstract away the host/device boundary, delivering the necessary flexibility to use higher-level C++ abstractions in mobile devices that use Snapdragon™ processors.”

"SYCL is the open standard, higher-level programming model the heterogeneous computing community has been waiting years for. SYCL tracks the latest developments in modern C++, with a clear path to C++ 17 to simplify parallel programming across multiple platforms. What I find unique about SYCL is the broad range application domains it is suitable for: allowing simple accelerator programming for beginner programmers by using only modern C++, but also enables power programmers to use advanced features to reach the ultimate performance while keeping an elegant software architecture," said Ronan Keryell, lead developer of triSYCL, the Open Source SYCL implementation project.

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™, 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 www.khronos.org.

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Khronos, Vulkan, DevU, StreamInput, SPIR, SPIR-V, SYCL, WebGL, WebCL, COLLADA, OpenKODE, OpenVG, OpenVX, EGL, 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.

Khronos Releases OpenCL 2.1 Provisional Specification for Public Review

OpenCL C++ Kernel Language Significantly Boosts Programmer Productivity;
New SPIR-V common intermediate language used by both OpenCL 2.1 and Vulkan

March 3rd 2015, San Francisco, GDC – The Khronos™ Group, an open consortium of leading hardware and software companies, today announced the ratification and public release of the OpenCL™ 2.1 provisional specification. OpenCL 2.1 is a significant evolution of the open, royalty-free standard for heterogeneous parallel programming that defines a new kernel language based on a subset of C++ for significantly enhanced programmer productivity, and support for the new Khronos SPIR-V™ cross-API shader program intermediate language now used by both OpenCL and the new Vulkan graphics API. The OpenCL 2.1 specification at www.khronos.org/opencl/ is released in provisional form to enable developers and implementers to provide feedback before finalization at the OpenCL forums: https://www.khronos.org/opencl/opencl_feedback_forum.

OpenCL 2.1 Technical Overview Session in San Francisco
OpenCL Ecosystem Advances: OpenCL 2.1, SPIR-V and SYCL
Wednesday, March 4th at 3-4:30pm 
Venue: SF Green Space at 657 Mission Street, Suite 200 – five minutes’ walk from GDC
Overview of OpenCL 2.1, SPIR-V and direct interaction with working group members
No GDC pass required, however seating is limited so please register if you plan to attend.

About OpenCL 2.1

The OpenCL C++ kernel language is a static subset of C++14 and significantly boosts parallel programming productivity by providing lambda functions, classes, templates, operator overloading, and many other C++ features to free developers from low-level coding details without sacrificing performance. OpenCL C++ enables reusable device libraries and containers for easily sharable code that is fast and elegant, and templates enables meta-programming for highly adaptive software that cleanly delivers performance portability.

In another significant announcement today, OpenCL 2.1 and Vulkan™, the new open standard API for high-efficiency access to graphics and compute on modern GPUs, are now sharing core intermediate language technologies resulting in SPIR-V; a revolution in the Khronos Standard Portable Intermediate Representation initially used by OpenCL™, now fully defined by Khronos with native support for shader and kernel features. SPIR-V splits the compiler chain, enabling high-level language front-ends to emit programs in a standardized intermediate form to be ingested by Vulkan or OpenCL drivers. Eliminating the need for a built-in high-level language source compiler significantly reduces driver complexity and will enable a diversity of language front-ends. Additionally, a standardized IR provides a measure of kernel IP protection, accelerated kernel load times and enables developers to use a common language front-end, improving kernel reliability and portability across multiple implementations.

In addition to the introduction of the OpenCL C++ shading language, OpenCL 2.1 brings enhancements to the OpenCL API, including:

  • Subgroups, that expose hardware threading, are bought into core, together with additional subgroup query operations for increased flexibility;
  • clCloneKernel enables copying of kernel objects and state for safe implementation of copy constructors in wrapper classes;
  • Low-latency device timer queries support alignment of profiling between device and host code.

“OpenCL 2.1 has responded to developer demand with a C++ based kernel language which delivers the next level of programmer productivity in parallel programming, while still preserving backwards compatibility for existing OpenCL C kernels,” said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group and chair of the OpenCL working group and vice president at NVIDIA. “The use of SPIR-V by Vulkan and OpenCL will fundamentally reshape the graphics and compute ecosystem by enabling diverse language and middleware front-ends to leverage the hardware community’s investment in optimized back-end drivers. Khronos is investigating catalyzing the OpenCL 2.1 ecosystem with an open source front-end OpenCL C++ compiler implementation and a convertor between SPIR-V and LLVM, and we welcome developer feedback on this and any other aspect of OpenCL 2.1.”

Industry Support for OpenCL 2.1

“AMD is excited to see OpenCL™ evolve to include a C++ kernel language, which will significantly expand the number of developers targeting heterogeneous platforms,” said Manju Hegde, corporate vice president, Heterogeneous Applications and Developer Solutions, AMD.  “We also applaud the bold move to SPIR-V which provides a common binary target language across graphics and compute.  This greatly simplifies vendor driver development and enables innovation in new languages targeting cross-platform acceleration of applications.”

“Mobile devices are now the primary computing platform for consumers,” said Dennis Laudick, vice president, partner marketing, media processing group, ARM. “As a founding member of Khronos, ARM is fully behind the new OpenCL specification including new features that enable mobile computing to be more energy-efficient.”

“Intel has been deeply involved in the development of OpenCL 2.1. We’re excited to get this new specification into the hands of Intel platform developers,” said Jon Khazam, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Visual & Parallel Computing Group.  “The addition of C++ support and movement toward a Common IR across OpenCL and the new Vulkan graphics API will facilitate wider adoption and deployment of OpenCL in heterogeneous computing applications.”

“The addition of the C++ kernel language in OpenCL 2.1 is a very exciting development for the HPC community,” said Simon McIntosh-Smith, head of the HPC research group at the University of Bristol. “C++ is being increasingly used to develop scientific codes, and so this development will make it much easier to port new HPC software to a wide variety of high performance, parallel hardware. OpenCL 2.1’s C++ kernel language could cause a step change in the rate of adoption for OpenCL in HPC.”

“We at YetiWare believe that software should run as fast as possible by using all of the processors on a system, and the OpenCL standard makes that possible,” said AJ Guillon, founder and chief technical officer, YetiWare Inc. “The OpenCL C++ kernel language and SPIR-V are both major advancements and big wins for developers.”

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™, SYCL™, WebCL™, OpenVX™, EGL™, 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 www.khronos.org.

Khronos Reveals Vulkan API for High-efficiency Graphics and Compute on GPUs

Demos of real-world applications running on Vulkan drivers and hardware at GDC;
New SPIR-V intermediate language shared by Vulkan and OpenCL 2.1

March 3rd 2015, San Francisco, GDC – The Khronos™ Group, an open consortium of leading hardware and software companies, today announced the availability of technical previews of the new Vulkan™ open standard API for high-efficiency access to graphics and compute on modern GPUs used in a wide variety of devices. This ground-up design, previously referred to as the Next Generation OpenGL® Initiative, provides applications direct control over GPU acceleration for maximized performance and predictability, and uses Khronos’ new SPIR-V™ specification for shading language flexibility. Vulkan initial specifications and implementations are expected later this year and any company may participate in Vulkan’s ongoing development by joining Khronos. Industry feedback is welcomed at https://www.khronos.org/vulkan/vulkan_feedback_forum.

“Industry standard APIs like Vulkan are a critical part of enabling developers to bring the best possible experience to customers on multiple platforms,” said Valve's Gabe Newell.  “Valve and the other Khronos members are working hard to ensure that this high-performance graphics interface is made available as widely as possible and we view it as a critical component of SteamOS and future Valve games.”

Vulkan Technical Previews at GDC in San Francisco

Khronos is offering special preview sessions for insights into the Vulkan architecture.

Vulkan: The Future of High Performance Graphics – hosted by Valve
Thursday, March 5 at 10-11AM
Venue: Room 2006 in the West Hall of the GDC Conference
A technical preview of the Vulkan API, with advanced techniques and live demos of real-world applications running on Vulkan drivers and hardware

Vulkan: the Next Generation Graphics and Compute API
Thursday, March 5 at 12-1:30pm and repeated at 2–3:30pm
Venue: SF Green Space at 657 Mission Street, Suite 200 – five minutes’ walk from GDC
Vulkan overview, demos and direct interaction with working group members
No GDC pass required, however seating is limited so please register if you plan to attend.

About Vulkan
Vulkan is a unified specification that minimizes driver overhead and enables multi-threaded GPU command preparation for optimal graphics and compute performance on diverse mobile, desktop, console and embedded platforms. Vulkan also provides the direct GPU control demanded by sophisticated game engines, middleware and applications with the cross vendor performance and functional portability resulting from simpler, more predictable drivers. The layered design of Vulkan enables multiple IHVs to plug into a common, extensible architecture for code validation, debugging and profiling during development without impacting production performance; this layering flexibility is expected to catalyze strong innovation in cross-vendor GPU tools.

In another significant announcement today, Vulkan and OpenCL 2.1 are now sharing core intermediate language technologies resulting in SPIR-V; a revolution in the Khronos Standard Portable Intermediate Representation initially used by OpenCL™, now fully defined by Khronos with native support for shader and kernel features. SPIR-V splits the compiler chain, enabling high-level language front-ends to emit programs in a standardized intermediate form to be ingested by Vulkan or OpenCL drivers. Eliminating the need for a built-in high-level language source compiler significantly reduces GPU driver complexity and will enable a diversity of language front-ends. Additionally, a standardized IR provides a measure of shader IP protection, accelerated shader load times and enables developers to use a common language front-end, improving shader reliability and portability across multiple implementations.

“Vulkan is a significant Khronos initiative to provide developers the choice of a state-of-the-art GPU API that is open and portable across multiple platforms, at a time where platform diversity is increasing,” said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group and vice president at NVIDIA. “Khronos will be driving the Vulkan ecosystem with open source conformance test components and sample front-end compiler implementations that use SPIR-V to leverage the hardware community’s investment in optimized back-end drivers. Vulkan expands the family of Khronos 3D APIs, and complements OpenGL and OpenGL ES that between them, provide access to billions of GPUs today, and will continue to be evolved and maintained to meet industry needs.”

Industry Support for Vulkan

“With direct influence on several generations of hardware and software architectures for milliwatt to kilowatt platforms, OpenGL is undeniably the industry’s most successful 3D Graphics API,” said Raja Koduri, corporate vice president, Visual and Perceptual Computing, AMD. “Vulkan is a transformation to OpenGL that brings forth exciting low-overhead capabilities to enable compelling increases in performance and power efficiency while maintaining developer productivity.”

“Since helping found Khronos, ARM has strived to improve the efficiency of standards and deliver compelling graphics to mobile devices with minimum energy consumption,” said Jem Davies, vice president of technology, media processing group, ARM. “Vulkan is a big step forward in enabling our ecosystem of developers to unleash the capabilities of the latest ARM GPU technology.”

“Codeplay is excited that Vulkan's SPIR-V feature will enable new languages and tools to be used in graphics. By standardizing the way new languages can be added to graphics, a whole new tools ecosystem is being opened up,” said Andrew Richards, CEO of Codeplay.

“As one of the major manufacturers for digital automotive instrument clusters and infotainment systems, Continental fully supports Khronos' new Vulkan initiative,” Dr. Ulrich Kabatek, principal technical expert graphic systems & 3D visualization at Continental Automotive. “It will enable high-quality graphic systems with custom safety levels and increase connectivity for our sustainable, safe, comfortable, individual, and affordable solutions. Simply, it is a huge step forward towards the driving experience of tomorrow. We wish Vulkan all the best!”

“Imagination is proud to have been a major contributor to the new Vulkan standard. With this new API alongside OpenGL ES, we feel that Khronos now has the right set of APIs in place to address the extreme performance and mainstream ends of the graphics programming market,” said Peter McGuinness, director of technology marketing, Imagination Technologies.

“NVIDIA is a strong supporter of OpenGL and we are actively engaged in the development of Vulkan,” said Barthold Lichtenbelt, senior director of Tegra graphics software at NVIDIA.  “Vulkan’s focus on enabling portable, high-performance games and engines will drive cutting-edge content across the range of NVIDIA’s gaming platforms including PC, mobile and cloud.”

“The Vulkan API is a groundbreaking rethink of graphics software technology,” said Dan Baker, co-founder, Oxide Games. “The efficiency and threading abilities are profound leaps forward that enable Oxide Games to create entirely new game genres on a variety of platforms.”

“We are very excited about the introduction of the Vulkan™ API. Vulkan will allow us to maximize GPU performance for graphically demanding games enabled with future versions of our cross-platform portability technology,” said Gavriel State, CTO & Founder at TransGaming. “The Khronos Group plays a leading role in maintaining open standards across a unified technology ecosystem that TransGaming is proud to contribute towards as a dedicated member.”

“Efficient, close to metal, developer-friendly GPU APIs combining rendering with compute are a natural fit for Vivante’s highly efficient GPU architectures,” said Wei-Jin Dai, president and CEO of Vivante. “Vulkan unleashes the newest innovations inside Vivante's latest GPU hardware and will provide a boost to the pervasive Vivante GPU powered platforms currently in the market. Khronos has moved the industry forward with the release of Vulkan to drive platforms in the current and next generation of the GPU-enabled ecosystem.”

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™, SYCL™, WebCL™, OpenVX™, EGL™, 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 www.khronos.org.

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Khronos, Vulkan, DevU, StreamInput, SPIR, SPIR-V, SYCL, WebGL, WebCL, COLLADA, OpenKODE, OpenVG, OpenVX, EGL, 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.

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