OpenCL 1.1 Gets Official, is Backwards Compatible

Paul Lilly

The Khronos Group on Monday announced it has officially ratified Opengist

CL 1.1, the open source programming standard for the parallel execution of tasks across multiple processors. So what's different with the new spec? According to Khronos, all of the following:

  • New data types including 3-component vectors and additional image formats
  • Handling commands from multiple hosts and processing buffers across multiple devices
  • Operations on regions of a buffer including read, write, and copy of 1D, 2D, or 3D rectangular regions
  • Enhanced use of events to drivea nd control command execution
  • Additional OpenCL C built-in functions such as integer clamp, shuffle, and asynchronous strided copies
  • Improved OpenGL interoperability through efficient sharing of images and buffers by linking OpenCL and OpenGL events
If that all sounds like Greek to you, the gist of what they're saying is that like most updates, OpenCL 1.1 brings improved performance to the table. Perhaps equally important, Khronos pointed out that the spec is fully backwards compatible with OpenCL 1.0.

OpenCL competes with Microsoft's DirectCompute API, which is part of the DirectX family. One of OpenCL's biggest assets is support from a range of heavy-hitting industry giants, including AMD, Apple, ARM, IBM, Intel, Nvidia, and several others. Coinciding with the announcement, Nvidia said it already has an OpenCL 1.1 driver available to show that their "full weight is behind" the spec.

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