Red Hat Developers Continue Working On OpenCL/Compute For Nouveau

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 28 April 2018 at 08:13 AM EDT. 29 Comments
Karol Herbst and others at Red Hat continue working on improving the open-source GPU compute for Linux, particularly for the Nouveau open-source reverse-engineered NVIDIA driver.

Longtime Nouveau developer Karol Herbst who joined Red Hat towards the end of 2017 has been working on compute support for Nouveau since joining the company. He's been added NIR support to Nouveau in order to get SPIR-V support working for OpenCL though also helps along Vulkan enablement for this open-source driver.

The latest patches from Herbst came out today and are some extensions for NIR to cover some extended conversion operations needed by OpenCL. Those are some basic improvements to the common NIR/SPIR-V compiler code in Mesa.

He's not the only one working on open-source GPU compute but Jerome Glisse at Red Hat who masterminded the now-mainlined Heterogeneous Memory Management (HMM) also continues working in this area. One of his recent projects for testing is "Moche" as a "dumb test program" for testing HMM within Nouveau.

Though as to why Red Hat is investing so much into the open-source Nouveau driver for GPU computing is what's really perplexing... Especially as most workstation/enterprise users don't object to using the proprietary NVIDIA driver stack, which is well supported on RHEL. But more pressing is that the GeForce GTX 900 series and newer still don't have any re-clocking support to allow the GPUs to ramp up past their (significantly low) boot clock frequencies. And for getting re-clocking solved is a huge challenge and likely requires NVIDIA releasing more signed firmware images for allowing the power management to be controlled by the Nouveau driver, etc. There's been no recent breakthrough in tackling open-source discrete GPU re-clocking for Maxwell/Pascal, at least publicly. So once this Nouveau GPGPU support is in place, the performance will be crippling slow until re-clocking is solved... So Red Hat must have some sort of back-room dealing for taking on all this Nouveau OpenCL compute work for brighter open-source NVIDIA Linux support in the future or so, it will certainly be interesting to see what happens.
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