Two Articles on Vulkan

>> Saturday, August 29, 2015

Still no hard documentation, but here are two interesting articles written by developers who are already using the Vulkan API:

  • Nermin Hajdarbegovic wrote a brief overview of the Vulkan API.
  • Sascha Willems wrote an article on his initial experiences with Vulkan.

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Vulkan News

>> Sunday, August 16, 2015

The SIGGRAPH 2015 conference ended on 8/13, and like many, I was eager to hear about Vulkan, the upcoming replacement for OpenGL. Here's what we know:

  1. Steam and LunarG are working together to provide support tools for Vulkan. Their presentation is on YouTube.
  2. Piers Daniell of Nvidia gave a high-level talk (PDF) on the Vulkan language and Vulkan development.
  3. Google announced that Android will support Vulkan in addition to OpenGL ES.
Still no drivers or documentation on the API, but the Google announcement is certainly good news. Android graphics developers will probably continue to use OpenGL ES, but if Vulkan compute kernels can be executed on Android, I'll bet Renderscript won't last much longer.

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The AMD Compute Libraries

>> Tuesday, August 11, 2015

AMD has released an open-source set of OpenCL libraries called the AMD Compute Libraries, or ACL. This contains four libraries intended for GPUs:

  • clBLAS - linear algebra functions
  • clFFT - Fast Fourier Transform
  • clSparse - Sparse matrix operations
  • clRNG - Random number generation
And two libraries intended to be run on CPUs:
  • BLIS - framework for "instantiating BLAS-like libraries"
  • libFlame - matrix operations, similar to LAPACK
I'd be interested to know how the clSparse functions compare to sparse matrix functions running on a CPU. I wrote some OpenCL sparse matrix routines for the book (Chapter 13), but the algorithms don't easily lend themselves to parallel computation, so it's hard to get good performance.

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