A Developer Hacked AMD's GCN GPUs To Run Custom Code Via OpenGL
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 30 November 2015 at 05:09 PM EST. 27 Comments
AMD --
A Phoronix reader pointed out an interesting slide deck that's gone relatively unnoticed up until now about a game developer "Hacking GCN via OpenGL" for allowing some interesting possibilities.

Tomasz Stachowiak, a developer at Frostbite Games in Sweden, posted some slides recently about this hacking of GCN (Graphics Core Next) via OpenGL code. Tomasz was looking to take full control over shader code and be able to feed hardware-specific ISA to the GPU without being bound by the bytecode of DirectX or Vulkan, etc. He's exploring possibilities like self-modifying shaders, shader sub-routines, and more.

His GCN "hack" involves using OpenGL's ARB_get_program_binary extension, cheating a CRC function of the driver, and then passing custom ISA to the GPU. The ISA is put into a buffer and the hacked shader causes the AMD GCN GPU to jump to that buffer and execute.

Among the future items he or others may explore is for generating code on the GPU, custom shader compilers, and a GPU-based OS. This is all the short story, go see his 50+ slides for all of the technical details.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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