The Intel Mesa Driver's Three Intermediate Representations
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 2 June 2016 at 05:22 PM EDT. Add A Comment
If you've read Phoronix for any real length of time you've likely come across articles talking about Intel's Mesa driver and various work on the intermediate representations (IRs) of the driver. If you still are wondering about the Mesa driver's IR, here's a introductory blog post done by our friends at Igalia.

The consulting firm Igalia that's done a number of the recent OpenGL 4.x improvements to the Intel open-source Mesa driver have published a blog post today nicely explaining the three intermediate representations and their impact.

Those three IRs of relevance to the Intel Mesa driver is the Abstract Syntax Tree (AST) representation of the GLSL shader, the Mesa IR / GLSL IR, and then the newest one getting the most attention now is NIR.

If you want to learn more about the Intel Mesa driver IRs, see this Igalia blog post by Alejandro PiƱeiro Iglesias.
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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 or contacted via

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