– The Khronos Group, an open consortium of industry-leading companies creating advanced interoperability standards, announces the release of the Vulkan 1.2 specification for GPU acceleration. This release integrates 23 proven extensions into the core Vulkan API, bringing significant developer-requested access to new hardware functionality, improved application performance, and enhanced API usability.
Multiple GPU vendors have certified conformant implementations, and significant open source tooling is expected during January 2020.
Vulkan continues to evolve by listening to developer needs, shipping new functionality as extensions, and then consolidating extensions that receive positive developer feedback into a unified core API specification. Carefully selected API features are made optional to enable market-focused implementations. Many Vulkan 1.2 features were requested by developers to meet critical needs in their engines and applications, including: timeline semaphores for easily managed synchronization; a formal
memory model to precisely define the semantics of synchronization and memory operations in different threads;
descriptor indexing to enable reuse of descriptor layouts by multiple shaders; deeper support for shaders written in
HLSL, and more.
“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, distinguished engineer at Arm, and Vulkan working group chair. “Khronos will continue delivering regular Vulkan ecosystem updates with this proven, developer-focused methodology to both meet the needs and expand the horizons of real-world applications.”
Khronos and the Vulkan community will support Vulkan 1.2 in a wide range of open source compilers, tools, and debuggers by the end of January 2020. This includes the RenderDoc frame capture and debugging tool, the Vulkan conformance test suite, and the
Vulkan SDK with support for both the ‘GPU Assisted’ and ‘Best Practices’ validation layers.
All GPUs that support previous versions of Vulkan are capable of supporting Vulkan 1.2, ensuring its widespread availability. As of today, five GPU vendors have Vulkan 1.2 implementations passing the Khronos conformance tests: AMD, Arm, Imagination Technologies, Intel, NVIDIA, plus the open-source Mesa RADV driver for AMD. Driver release updates will be posted on the Vulkan Public Release Tracker along with the status of other Vulkan ecosystem components.
Vulkan is an open, royalty-free API for high-efficiency, cross-platform access to modern GPUs, with widespread adoption in leading engines, cutting-edge games, and demanding applications. Vulkan is supported in a diverse range of devices from Windows and Linux PCs, consoles, and the cloud, to mobile phones and embedded platforms, including the addition of Google’s Stadia in 2019.