One API to Rule Them All

>> Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Khronos Group has announced that Vulkan (formerly known as glNext) will provide "high-efficiency access to graphics and compute on modern GPUs." From the look of it, Vulkan will effectively supersede OpenGL, OpenCL, CUDA, Direct3D, and Mantle for GPU development. The API won't be released until later in the year, but Valve will provide a preview at the Game Developers Conference.

I think this is wonderful. I shouldn't need three languages to program one processor. Further, OpenGL has become so bloated and high-level that it's next to impossible to know how efficiently an application will run. And though I loved OpenCL-OpenGL interoperability, it annoyed me that the CPU had to tell the GPU when to switch between OpenCL kernels and OpenGL shaders.

Most of the major hardware vendors have endorsed Vulkan, but I haven't heard anything from Google. That's a shame. Chrome won't run WebCL in any way and the only GPU compute language supported by Android is Renderscript. If Google would get on board with Vulkan, it would be a fine thing.

In other news, the Khronos Group has released a provisional spec for OpenCL 2.1. From the announcement, the major change is that kernels can be coded with C++. The link to the PDF is here.

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