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Khronos Group exploring industry interest for new open standard for high performance embedded computing (HPEC) applications

The Khronos Group has created an Exploratory Group to gauge industry interest for a potential new open standard for high performance embedded computing (HPEC) applications. Khronos is seeking feedback from automotive, robotics, aerospace, industrial, medical and IoT developers, all target users that wish to focus on algorithm development—not communication intricacies—but need the performance and flexibility of low-level point-to-point protocols with the simplicity of high-level point-to-point methodologies.

Khronos created the Exploratory Group to assess the degree of interest in making this new standard an open, royalty-free standard under the Khronos framework. If there is enough interest, Khronos will create a Working Group and welcome any company to join in the development as a multi-vendor, open standard API.

Those interested in finding out more and providing feedback are invited to visit the Khronos Heterogeneous Communication feedback page.

The Khronos Group is an open industry consortium of more than 140 leading hardware and software companies creating advanced, royalty-free, acceleration standards for 3D graphics, Augmented and Virtual Reality, vision processing and machine learning.

Khronos standards include Vulkan, OpenGL, OpenGL ES, OpenGL SC, WebGL, SPIR-V, OpenCL, SYCL, OpenVX, NNEF, COLLADA, OpenXR and glTF. 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 accelerated platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests.

Implementers of the proposed new standard could include chip, board and system hardware manufacturers and embedded software tool and OS vendors. The goal would be to unify low-level communication into a simple API with the aim of reducing application complexity, minimizing development costs, and accelerating time-to-market.

If Khronos forms a working group to address this opportunity, any participating company will be invited to submit design contributions to be discussed and integrated by the working group members. Khronos has already received one such design proposal: the Takyon API from Abaco Systems.

Takyon unifies low-level point-to-point communication and signaling functionality with just five core functions, making it easy to learn and use. Takyon enables programmers to quickly develop high-performance, scalable, portable, and fault-tolerant applications running across complex systems.

Takyon builds on Abaco’s expertise in advanced embedded software, among which is its AXIS software development environment, the foundation for Takyon.

Current HPEC communication APIs are typically focused on a particular hardware interconnect/architecture, or a specific thread/process/processor/application locality. Some are very complex, requiring hundreds of lines of code just to handle simple concepts. Others intend to be simple, but get deceptively complex in real-world use cases. Still others mask important, underlying features which can ultimately impact latency and determinism.

There is no single standard that fits all localities and features - resulting in high development costs, ill-fated shortcuts, and confused embedded HPEC developers. We believe that this effort by Khronos has the potential to address this problem with a simple but elegant API that could become a key open standard.

—Peter Thompson, vice president, product marketing at Abaco

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