ZLUDA: Drop-In Open-Source CUDA Support For Intel Xe / UHD Graphics

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 24 November 2020 at 03:30 AM EST. 24 Comments
An interesting solution built off Intel's oneAPI Level Zero is the open-source "ZLUDA" that is providing a "Level Zero CUDA" implementation for being able to run programs geared for NVIDIA CUDA atop Intel UHD / Xe Graphics hardware.

ZLUDA is a project independent of NVIDIA and Intel but one of the most interesting external projects we have seen so far targeting Intel's Level Zero interface. ZLUDA allows for unmodified CUDA applications to run on Intel GPUs with "near native" performance through this alternative libcuda running with Skylake / Gen9 graphics and newer.

ZLUDA is still in the early stages of development but is already mature enough that it can run the Geekbench program with the CUDA tests. Those CUDA tests atop Intel graphics hardware also reveal performance matching that of the Geekbench OpenCL test cases.

ZLUDA doesn't yet support all CUDA functionality but enough for the likes of Geekbench for demonstration purposes. In the future it might also be possible to extend ZLUDA to run atop AMD's HIP interfaces as an alternative to Intel Level Zero.

Some will also find this project interesting in that it's written in the Rust programming language. The developer so far has done much of his testing on Intel Gen9 graphics and expects more changes for ironing out the latest-generation Gen12 Xe support.

More details for those interested in this CUDA implementation atop Intel GPUs via ZLUDA on GitHub.
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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 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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