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SYCL for Safety Critical Systems

Khronos to Create SYCL SC Open Standard for Safety-Critical C++ Based Heterogeneous Compute. New Working Group designing derivative of the SYCL framework for high-level parallel programming to streamline safety certification in automotive, avionics, industrial, and medical markets; Open call for industry participation.

The Need for Safety-Critical Compute API Standards

The demand for advanced compute is growing in a wide range of industries where safety is paramount, including automotive, avionics and medical where it is vital that systems meet safety-critical standards. First introduced in 2014, SYCL is a C++ based heterogeneous parallel programming framework for accelerating high-performance computing (HPC), machine learning, embedded computing, and compute-intensive desktop applications on a wide range of processor architectures, including CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, and tensor accelerators.

An Introduction to SYCL SC

In March 2023, the Khronos Group announced the creation of the SYCL SC Working Group (Press Release) to create a high-level compute standard for safety-critical systems that leverages the widely-adopted SYCL 2020 standard. The formation of the Working Group is the result of an extensive exploratory process that involved companies in the safety-critical community working together since March 2022 to build consensus on use cases and industry requirements to catalyze and guide the design of this new open standard. The SYCL SC Working Group is open to any Khronos member, and Khronos membership is open to any organisation.

Leveraging the proven industry standard SYCL 2020, SYCL SC should reduce development and certification costs in safety-critical markets where using the SYCL higher-level programming model can improve programming productivity. SYCL SC will bridge the gap between low-level APIs such as Vulkan® SC and the C++ high-level language and will leverage Vulkan SC design principles where appropriate and aim to enable open standards that can streamline system safety certifications at every level of the software stack.

Khronos members involved in the new SYCL for Safety-Critical Systems Working Group will present a session on "What’s New in SYCL for Safety-Critical Systems,” at the upcoming International Workshop on OpenCL and SYCL Conference (IWOCL), taking place on April 18-20 in Cambridge, UK. Learn More.

Aligning With Safety Certification Standards

The SYCL SC API will adhere to the new MISRA C++ 202X guidelines and align with safety certification standards such as RTCA DO-178C Level A / EASA ED-12C (avionics), ISO 26262/21448 (automotive), IEC 61508 (industrial), and IEC 62304 (Medical).

Get Involved to Help Shape SYCL SC

Any organization interested in participating in the SYCL for Safety-Critical Systems Working Group is invited to become a Khronos member. Please visit our Member page or contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

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Overview Presentation

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Industry Support for the Working Group

The SYCL SC Working Group has already gained support from industry leaders including AMD, Arm, Barcelona Supercomputer Center, Codeplay, CoreAVI, Intel, Intellias Mercedes-Benz, and Qualcomm Technologies Inc.

“Safety-critical markets such as automotive and avionics are seeing dramatic increases in software and hardware complexity, often automating advanced functions traditionally performed by humans. The need for sophisticated, high-performance compute acceleration drives the need for powerful, high-level programming abstractions—resulting in strong industry interest in evolving SYCL to meet the requirements of safety-critical systems. We are excited to launch the SYCL SC Working Group that will create an open standard that unlocks the SYCL acceleration model to reduce development and certification costs for safety-critical industries, while improving programming productivity.”

Verena Beckham
vice president of safety engineering at Codeplay and SYCL SC Working Group pro tempore co-chair.

“SYCL SC will be a key component of many robust, safety-critical compute stacks. With Vulkan SC and OpenVX™ the industry already has access to low-level compute, and high-level computer vision and machine learning APIs. SYCL SC is the missing link. It will bring accelerated computation to systems requiring functional safety with a C++ interface. With SYCL SC, Khronos is expanding the choice of programming abstractions for safety-critical systems to suit different market and developer needs.”

Kenneth Wenger
senior director of research & innovation at CoreAVI and SYCL SC Working Group pro tempore co-chair.

“The deployment of autonomous systems is increasingly dependent on open standards and a robust software and hardware ecosystem that places safety as its top priority. We understand the importance of industry collaboration to help ease software complexity for developers, and look forward to contributing our expertise in functional safety and software standardization to help define the SYCL Safety-Critical open standards.”

Tom Conway
senior director of product management, Automotive Line of Business, Arm

“Recently, we have seen SYCL’s popularity take off in the high-performance computing industry, which is evidence of SYCL’s ability to provide a performant, open and portable solution to heterogeneous programming. Now we are looking forward to helping unlock the SYCL programming model and all its benefits to safety-critical industries as well.”

Andrew Richards
CEO, Codeplay Software

“SYCL Safety Critical extends open accelerator programming to applications where safety critical standards apply. We are pleased to support this working group to define a productive, open, cross-platform programming framework that meets the needs of safety-critical developers.”

Joe Curley
vice president and general manager of software products at Intel

“Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America is delighted to join the SYCL SC Working Group to strengthen industry adoption of safety-critical development standards, as ADAS/AD systems harness heterogeneous computing hardware.”

Sundararajan Ramalingam
vice president Autonomous Driving at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America.

Khronos: A Strong Pedigree Developing Safety-Critical APIs

Khronos has close to 20 years experience in adapting mainstream APIs for safety critical markets. In 2005 OpenGL SC 1.0 defined a minimal subset of OpenGL ES 1.0 for easier certification to the DO-178B standard for avionics displays. When OpenGL ES 2.0 introduced programmable shaders, OpenGL SC 2.0 integrated that functionality for ISO 26262 certification for automotive displays. In early 2022 Khronos defined a safety critical subset of the low-level Vulkan graphics and compute API to create Vulkan SC.