Khronos to Merge OpenCL and Vulkan into One API

/ 1 month ago

Non-profit developer Khronos has announced that it will merge its OpenCL parallel programming framework with its graphics API Vulkan. The big news was strangely buried in a statement regarding the final specifications of OpenCL 2.2 and SPIR-V 1.2.

Khronos Says

Neil Trevett, OpenCL chair and Khronos President, said:

“By finalizing OpenCL 2.2, Khronos has delivered on its promise to make C++ a first-class kernel language in the OpenCL standard. The OpenCL working group is now free to continue its work with SYCL, to converge the power of single source parallel C++ programming with standard ISO C++, and to explore new markets and opportunities for OpenCL — such as embedded vision and inferencing. We are also working to converge with, and leverage, the Khronos Vulkan API — merging advanced graphics and compute into a single API.”

Khronos to Merge OpenCL and Vulkan into One API

The above statement suggests that Vulkan and OpenCL will combine to form a new API. In a clarifying statement to PC Perspective, though, Khronos explained that OpenCL will instead become part of Vulkan:

“The OpenCL working group has taken the decision to converge its roadmap with Vulkan, and use Vulkan as the basis for the next generation of explicit compute APIs – this also provides the opportunity for the OpenCL roadmap to merge graphics and compute.”

Merger of OpenCL and Vulkan

The merger of Khronos’ two APIs will see Vulkan’s low-overhead agnostic support combined with OpenCL’s FPGA support. There is an element of crossover between Vulkan and OpenCL, so merging the two APIs makes perfect sense. Vulkan has been a smash since succeeding Mantle in 2016, and any move to broaden its capabilities is a positive. DirectX 12 had better watch out.

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