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The Khronos Group has released Vulkan 1.0 royalty-free, open standard API specification. Vulkan provides high- efficiency, cross-platform access to graphics and compute on modern GPUs used in a wide variety of devices from PCs and consoles to mobile phones and embedded platforms. This ground-up design, complementing the OpenGL and OpenGL ES

3D APIs, provides applications direct control over GPU acceleration for maximized performance and predictability with minimized CPU overhead and efficient multi-threaded performance. Multiple Vulkan 1.0 hardware drivers and SDKs are available immediately for developers to begin creating Vulkan applications and engines. More information on Vulkan is available at

About Vulkan 1.0

Vulkan is the result of 18 months in an intense collaboration between leading hardware, game engine and platform vendors, built on significant contributions from multiple Khronos members. Vulkan is designed for portability across multiple platforms with desktop and mobile GPU architectures. Vulkan is available on multiple versions of Microsoft Windows from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and has been adopted as a native rendering and compute API by platforms including Linux, SteamOS, Tizen and Android.

By placing an unprecedented collection of Vulkan-related materials into open source, including the full Vulkan conformance tests, the specification source, and a rich set of software tools, Khronos is enabling strong community participation to drive API consistency and ecosystem evolution. All Khronos open source projects are available here:

Vulkan minimizes driver overhead for optimal graphics and compute performance and provides the direct GPU control demanded by sophisticated game engines, middleware and applications. Simpler, more predictable drivers provide performance and functional portability across a wide range of implementations. A key advantage of Vulkan over OpenGL is the ability to generate GPU work in parallel using many CPU cores, making Vulkan particularly useful for CPU-bound developers, eliminating a bottleneck in applications from diverse domains including games, computer-aided design and mobile apps. Vulkan complements the traditional OpenGL and OpenGL ES APIs that provide a higher level of abstraction to access GPU functionality, which may be more convenient for many developers. Khronos will continue to evolve OpenGL and OpenGL ES in parallel with Vulkan to meet market needs.

Vulkan uses the Khronos SPIR-V intermediate representation defined by Khronos with native support for shader and compute kernel features. SPIR-V splits the compiler chain, enabling high-level language front-ends to emit programs in a standardized intermediate form to be ingested by Vulkan. Eliminating the need for a built-in high-level language source compiler significantly reduces GPU driver complexity and will enable a diversity of language front-ends. Additionally, a standardized IR provides a measure of shader IP protection, accelerated shader load times and enables developers to use a common language front-end, improving shader reliability and portability across multiple implementations.

Vulkan's layered design enables a common, extensible architecture to install tool layers for code validation, debugging and profiling during development without impacting production performance. Khronos' open source materials enable SDKs and tools to be built for any platform.

About the LunarG Vulkan SDK

LunarG has released the first Vulkan SDK for Windows and Linux concurrently with the Vulkan 1.0 specification. The SDK includes validation layers to ensure proper Vulkan API usage and improve portability across platforms and graphics hardware. Additional layers are available for taking screenshots, tracing API activity, and running other debugging tasks. The LunarG SDK contains sample programs and documentation to help developers accelerate application development. The LunarG SDK for Vulkan is open source and available from LunarXchange at

About The Khronos Group

The Khronos Group is an industry consortium creating open standards to enable the authoring and acceleration of parallel computing, graphics, vision, sensor processing and dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices. Khronos standards include Vulkan, OpenGL, OpenGL ES, WebGL, OpenCL, SPIR, SPIR-V, SYCL, WebCL, OpenVX, EGL, COLLADA, and glTF. All Khronos members are enabled to contribute to the development of Khronos specifications, are empowered to vote at various stages before public deployment, and are able to accelerate the delivery of their cutting-edge media platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests.

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Publication:UNIX Update
Date:Mar 1, 2016

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