The Khronos Group Releases Vulkan 1.2
Michael Alba posted on January 16, 2020 |
Latest release of Vulkan GPU API provides better performance and easier development.
(Image courtesy of the Khronos Group.)
(Image courtesy of the Khronos Group.)

Vulkan 1.2, the latest release of the Vulkan API for GPU acceleration, has been put forth by the Khronos Group. First released in 2016, Vulkan was designed to offer developers more explicit GPU control than alternatives like OpenGL, also developed by the Khronos Group. In Vulkan 1.2, that control goes even deeper with 23 extensions integrated into the core Vulkan API.

According to the Khronos Group, many of Vulkan 1.2’s new features were implemented at the behest of developers. The new timeline semaphores, for example, make synchronization much simpler to manage than in Vulkan 1.1. The new release also adds much deeper support for shaders written in Microsoft’s High Level Shader Language (HLSL). Another addition, dynamic descriptor indexing, allows developers to reuse descriptor layouts for multiple shaders. In aggregate, the Khronos Group claims the new features give Vulkan 1.2 better performance and higher visual quality while being easier for developers to use.

Vulkan 1.2 adds timeline semaphores for easier synchronization. (Image courtesy of the Khronos Group.)
Vulkan 1.2 adds timeline semaphores for easier synchronization. (Image courtesy of the Khronos Group.)

“Vulkan 1.2 brings together nearly two dozen high-priority features developed over the past two years into one unified core Vulkan standard, setting a cutting-edge bar for functionality in the industry’s only open GPU API for cross-platform 3D and compute acceleration,” said Tom Olson, Vulkan working group chair.

All GPUs that supported previous versions of Vulkan are capable of supporting Vulkan 1.2. There are currently five GPU vendors whose products implement Vulkan 1.2: AMD, ARM, Imagination Technologies, Intel, and NVIDIA. The Khronos Group expects Vulkan 1.2 to be supported in many open-source compilers, tools and debuggers by the end of January 2020.

According to the Khronos Group, future plans to extend Vulkan include adding support for ray tracing rendering, video encode/decode, machine learning, and safety-critical applications.

For more information on Vulkan 1.2, check out the Vulkan specification.

Recommended For You