Intel "Compute Walker" Support Lands For Xe HP In Linux Drivers

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 14 January 2021 at 12:00 AM EST. Add A Comment
A new compute code path has been merged into Intel's open-source "ANV" Vulkan and "iris" Gallium3D drivers for the forthcoming Xe HP graphics hardware.

The initial "COMPUTE_WALKER" code has been in development at Intel for the past 1~2 years while the merge request was just submitted a few days ago to replace the "legacy" compute path from the upcoming Gen12.5 Xe HP hardware. The check is for newer than Gen12 or GEN12HP, so the new compute path will trickle down to lower-tier parts outside of the Xe HP scope moving forward after the existing Gen12 parts like Tiger Lake or the upcoming Rocket Lake still flagged as Gen12 (not 12.5).

The "COMPUTE_WALKER" code for this new compute path in the company's OpenGL/Vulkan drivers was sent in initially via this merge request.

Public references around Intel and "compute walker" are minimal. The only place I've found Compute Walker referenced outside of this new Mesa code is for this Intel patent application filed in 2019 and currently pending. That pending patent is in regards to dynamic load balancing of compute assets among different compute contexts. "COMPUTE_WALKER" is a referenced command as part of that patent so it looks like this new load balancing technique will be making its debut with Xe HP.
Examples are described here that can be used to allocate commands from multiple sources to performance by one or more segments of a processing device. For example, a processing device can be segmented into multiple portions and each portion is allocated to process commands from a particular source. In the event a single source provides commands, the entire processing device (all segments) can be allocated to process commands from the single source. When a second source provides commands, some segments can be allocated to perform commands from the first source and other segments can be allocated to perform commands from the second source. Accordingly, commands from multiple applications can be executed by a processing unit at the same time.

That's the latest on the open-source/Linux bring-up for Intel Xe HP that remains ongoing. Xe HP is the data center / high performance Intel discrete GPU being pursued by Intel. Xe HP is reportedly sampling to select customers while the upstream Linux enablement remains ongoing and the formal launch likely taking place later in the year when we will learn more about the hardware's capabilities.
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