SIGGRAPH 2018: OpenCL-Next Taking Shape, Vulkan Continues Evolving
Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 13 August 2018. Page 2 of 2. 6 Comments

While over the past year or so has been talk of possible convergence between OpenCL and Vulkan, OpenCL will continue progressing in its own right. OpenCL continues to support accelerators and other features that are not entirely relevant in the Vulkan spectrum. Khronos Group has confirmed it's working on "OpenCL-Next" and this next major OpenCL update will likely materialize in 2019. OpenCL's focus will continue to be on "computational across diverse processor architectures" while Vulkan will continue to get better at handling OpenCL C kernels.

Thanks to projects like Clspv, lots of common usage around LLVM, and the now central SPIR-V intermediate representation, there remains a lot of portability between OpenCL and Vulkan. This portability should only continue to flourish and Vulkan will also continue getting better at kernel handling with different features.

With OpenCL-Next, it will be more extensible and catered to given verticals/drivers/architectures. In particular, it should help a lot of the current OpenCL drivers advance beyond the OpenCL 1.2 era! Like right now with the NVIDIA Windows/Linux OpenCL driver notably being at OpenCL 1.2 officially but implementing a lot of OpenCL 2.0+ extensions... In my briefing it sounds quite good that OpenCL-Next will have full support within a future NVIDIA driver. The principal blocker to NVIDIA from having OpenCL 2 compliance is Shared Virtual Memory (SVM) and it sounds like that will most likely become an optional feature to this next CL revision and that NVIDIA does remain committed to OpenCL even while continue to advance their own proprietary CUDA programming model.

That's about it for the Khronos news at SIGGRAPH 2018. It's great to see NNEF 1.0 and OpenXR reaching the spotlight, Vulkan's continued evolution, and I am certainly looking forward to OpenCL-Next.


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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 10,000 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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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