NIR Lands In Mesa, New IR Started By High Schooler Intern At Intel

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 15 January 2015 at 12:11 PM EST. 30 Comments
NIR, the new IR for Mesa that's better than the status quo (GLSL IR), has finally landed inside mainline Mesa.

NIR aims to be lower-level than GLSL IR but still high enough to be device-independent and support generic optimizations. NIR is flat, type-less, GLSL-like features, native support for SSA, and uses much less memory than GLSL IR.

NIR was conceived by Connor Abbott, the open-source developer that began contributing to the open-source Lima graphics driver stack while in high school from the United States. Connor has also spoken at FOSDEM in Brussles on Linux graphics while being a high schooler and enjoying his first beer experiences. This past summer while between his high school and freshman college transition, he was interning at Intel at their Open-Source Technology Center where he worked on NIR.

The NIR patches have been out for months while they've been revised and improved upon by other upstream Mesa developers. Since going off to college, Jason Ekstrand of Intel has been doing a lot of work on NIR. As of today, NIR has landed in mainline Mesa.

The many NIR patches are now in Git. Those wishing to better understand the NIR intermediate representation can see the README.

The Intel DRI Mesa driver has been where most of the NIR testing has happened. The NIR support can be toggled with the Intel driver using the INTEL_USE_NIR environment variable. It's also expected that NIR will get hooked up to the Broadcom VC4 Gallium3D driver for the Raspberry Pi. In due time it could be hooked up by other drivers too.
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