By August 23, 2018 Read More →

Khronos launches conformance test suite for SYCL 1.2.1

The SYCL Adopters Package provides an extensive testing suite to potential SYCL implementers.

The Khronos Group, a non-profit open industry consortium dedicated to the creation of APIs, file formats, and other industry standards, has announced the launch of the SYCL Adopters Package, a program allowing SYCL 1.2.1 users to access an extensive new testing environment and upload their results to be reviewed by Khronos. New SYCL 1.2.1 implementers can also use the test bed to apply to join and become official Khronos members.

SYCL, as you must know, is a development tool for Khronos’ OpenCL standard, which enables application development for systems using heterogeneous processors in a parallelized fashion. For example, building a program that can enlist CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, etc. SYCL offers a high-level approach; it is a cross-platform abstraction layer that enables code to be written single-source style using C++.

An abstraction layer simply refers to a method of hiding the implementation details of a function. This allows other functionalities to be added to it without worrying about potentially program-breaking crashes, allowing for increased interoperability and platform independence in software models. So a “cross-platform abstraction layer” is a function (or series of functions) which can operate across various platforms and won’t get in the way of other programmed tasks that may also need to be carried out.

A visualization showing where SYCL fits into the picture. (Source: Khronos Group)

So let’s get back to SYCL, shall we? The newest SYCL 1.2.1 (revision 3) release is based on OpenCL 1.2 and benefits from more than two years of improvements made to it by various Khronos members. SYCL 1.2.1 expands the feature set of C++11 and also enjoys improvements that allow support for C++14 and C++17. This opens the door for ISO C++17 parallel STL (standard template) programs to benefit from acceleration on OpenCL devices. Now implementers of SYCL 1.2.1 also has the ability to access the conformance test suite included in the SYCL Adopters Package, allowing them to submit their test results to Khronos directly to get on the fast-track to becoming official Khronos members.

“A decade since OpenCL’s inception, we now have the SYCL high-level, modern C++ language for parallel processing with complete conformance tests and an official Adopter’s Package,” said Michael Wong, SYCL Working Group Chair at Khronos. “The Adopters Package is an invaluable resource for implementers and will help ensure consistency between multiple SYCL implementations. We expect the first official SYCL 1.2.1-conformant implementations to ship in the coming months.”

To put it simply, the conformance test suite included in the Adopters Package allows potential adopters to test their implementations before they submit their results to Khronos. Once a potential adopter’s results have been approved, they will have the freedom to label their product as being SYCL conformant, as well as being able to use a royalty-free trademark license (including the SYCL name and logo) alongside their implementation. They will also be granted all the protections and benefits that go along with being part of the Khronos IP framework, and will even be promoted by the Khronos group.

“Khronos conformance tests continue to play a key role in protecting the integrity of our standards by ensuring consistency and reliability across multiple vendor implementation,” stated Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group. “The new Adopters Package and tests for SYCL 1.2.1 will help Khronos continue our mission to support OpenCL-based multi-vendor parallel programming and machine learning acceleration. SYCL is also key to Khronos helping the industry to bring heterogeneous parallel programming to modern ISO C++.”

Khronos is a non-profit open industry consortium, the Khronos Group consists of more than a hundred hardware and software companies that create and maintain royalty-free acceleration standards for 3D graphics (and more). The group is also dedicated to the creation of APIs, file formats, and other industry standards in the areas of VR/AR, parallel computing, neural networks, and vision processing. Well-known examples of technologies introduced by the group include Vulkan and OpenGL—both heavily used in gaming and graphical processing, WebGL which renders 3D graphics on websites without the need for additional plugins, and the ‘neural network exchange format’ (NNEF) that’s widely used in machine learning.

To learn more about the Khronos Group and SYCL, visit their homepage or check out their YouTube channel.

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Johan is a journalist, history buff, and tech enthusiast who enjoys writing about science, technology, and gaming. He also scuba dives but that doesn't seem relevant.

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