Google and OpenCL

>> Wednesday, March 20, 2013

As of Android 4.1, the Renderscript graphics engine has been deprecated in favor of OpenGL. Since then, I've hoped Renderscript computation would be deprecated in favor of OpenCL. But this message from a Google engineer explains why this hasn't happened.

His concern with OpenCL/CUDA is that "it gets peak performance at the expense of performance portability." He goes on to say that an application targeting one device won't execute optimally on another due to differences in work-group size, shared memory availability, and so on.

With proper coding, this isn't an issue. clGetDeviceInfo and clGetKernelWorkGroupInfo examine the device at runtime and return information abouts its work-group size, shared memory availability, preferred vector widths, and the sizes of its memory buffers. With these functions, applications can tailor their operation to take full advantage of the target device, no matter what its characteristics are.

For example, the following code identifies how many work-items should be generated per group to execute a given kernel on a given device:

size_t group_size;
clGetKernelWorkGroupInfo(kernel, device, CL_KERNEL_WORK_GROUP_SIZE,
                         sizeof(group_size), &group_size, NULL);

If Google is going to stick with Renderscript for high performance, I'll grit my teeth and learn it. But I wish they'd support other options. I also wish they'd join the Khronos Group.


Anonymous,  June 24, 2013 at 10:05 AM  

Google is a Contributor Member of the Khronos Group... like Mozilla, and Opera.

But, true, they're not a Promoter Member... like AMD, Apple, Intel, NVIDIA, Epic Games.

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