Khronos Exploring New Industry Standard For Heterogeneous Communications
Written by Michael Larabel in Standards on 16 January 2019 at 09:11 AM EST. 3 Comments
From VR to autonomous vehicles to edge computing, The Khronos Group continues working on new industry standards for today's expanding compute landscape. Today the organization announced they are soliciting industry feedback and creating an exploratory group for a new, open industry standard around High Performance Embedded Computing (HPEC).

This possible Khronos standard for High Performance Embedded Computing would be focused on low-level, point-to-point communication and signaling. Here's what they are trying to specifically address:
Many cross-platform communication standards already exist, but for the most part they are either focused on a particular interconnect hardware, a homogeneous HPC architecture, or locality (inter-thread, inter-process, inter-processor).

Each existing standard has different design methodologies, strengths, and weaknesses. Some are very complex requiring hundreds of lines of code just to handle simple concepts. Others intend to be simple but can get deceptively complex. Some mask important underlying features which can have performance impacts on latency and determinism.

Unfortunately, there is no single standard that fits all localities, features, and strengths. A single application may be required to use multiple communication interfaces. Over time this application may need to be re-distributed on different hardware requiring a large refactoring of code (e.g. moving inter-process communication to inter-thread communication). This results in high development costs, compromising shortcuts taken, potential to require use of non-de-facto 3rd party proprietary APIs, and overwhelmed application developers.

They would want any new API to be simple, optimized for performance, dynamic and fault tolerant, and portable and maintainable across hardware platforms and software environments. They have already ruled out the likes of MPI, MCAPI, and ZeroMQ for such a standard, but are considering an API based upon Abaco Systems' Takyon.

Takyon is an existing Apache-licensed point-to-point communications API currently catering to the embedded HPC industry and similar in nature to MPI.

Those interested in high performance embedded computing can learn more about this new exploratory group via today's announcement at Khronos and their initial design document.
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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 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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