Intel Open-Sources LLVM Graphics Compiler, Compute Runtime With OpenCL 2.1+

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 16 February 2018 at 05:37 AM EST. 24 Comments
Now it's clear why Intel hasn't been working on the Beignet code-base in months as they have been quietly working on a new and better OpenCL stack and run-time! On open-source Intel OpenCL you can now have OpenCL 2.1 while OpenCL 2.2 support is on the way.

Intel by way of their Open-Source Technology Center quietly open-sourced a new compute runtime as well as an LLVM-based graphics compiler. Thanks to a sharp-eyed Phoronix reader for spotting and pointing out to us this new Intel OpenCL stack that hasn't really received any attention at all yet.

Prior to this their main open-source OpenCL support for Intel HD/UHD/Iris Graphics has been way of the Beignet project that last year reached OpenCL 2.0 support. But at the same time Intel had been maintaining a separate closed-source OpenCL driver too. While in 2016, Intel began writing this new OpenCL driver stack dubbed "Neo" that is meant to replace both Beignet and their closed-source/classic OpenCL driver.

The Intel Neo OpenCL driver compute stack is cross-platform, open-source via the MIT license, and consists of the new compute runtime, an LLVM-based graphics compiler, the GMMLIB Graphics Memory Management Library, some yet-to-be-mainlined LLVM patches, and the Clang compiler front-end.

This Intel Neo driver stack brings OpenCL 2.1 support right now to Skylake and newer processors. But Intel OTC says they are planning to have OpenCL 2.2 support achieved by the end of the year. This is a huge freaking win for open-source OpenCL! Beignet was already in good shape with just OpenCL 2.0 support while NVIDIA's proprietary driver still has just OpenCL 1.2 with some bits of CL 2.0, the ROCm Radeon open-source compute stack right now has OpenCL 1.2 but with elements of OpenCL 2.0 runtime support and is working on that, and generally on the desktop there isn't widely OpenCL 2.1~2.2.

I'll certainly be trying out this new Intel OpenCL "Neo" driver stack and running some benchmarks soon. You can learn more about this new open-source OpenCL compute stack and their LLVM graphics compiler via while the code is hosted on GitHub via the compute-runtime and intel-graphics-compiler.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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