Siggraph 2013: OpenCL 2.0 and OpenGL 4.4 launched

Adobe's recently released Premiere Pro CC uses OpenGL to power 3D effects from your graphics card, to OpenCL to let the card make conventional 2D effects and video encoding run faster.

The Khronos Group has used the Siggraph 2013 conference in Anaheim, California to release new versions of the technologies that tap your graphics card to make creative applications run faster.

Standards-setting firm Khronos Group released OpenCL 2.0, which is a key development platform used to write applications in which processing is broken down across both a computer's CPU and graphics cards. The group also released OpenGL 4.4, a graphics programming standard that takes advantage of the latest graphics hardware. So while a tool such as Adobe's Premiere Pro CC might use OpenGL to accelerate effects that replicate a 3D space – such as 3D transformations or lighting effects – the software would also tap the processing power of the graphics card using OpenCL for non-3D video processing from combining video from different formats to applying styled looks and blurs to encoding on output.

"It does significantly expand some of the new GPGPU compute function," said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

McGregor referred to general-purpose graphics processing unit computing, which is how some in the industry refer to both the multi-vendor-supported OpenCL and Nvidia's somewhat competing CUDA technology (Nvidia is also a supporter of OpenCL, as are AMD, Intel and many others).

The effectiveness of OpenCL depends on support within creative applications. Premiere Pro CC, for example, currently supports OpenCL version 1.2.

Khronos also announced OpenGL 4.4, which allows "applications to incrementally use new features while portably accessing state-of-the-art graphics processing units (GPUs) across diverse operating systems and platforms," the organization said in a release.

The new graphics specification also allows easy porting of applications across APIs (application programming interfaces), Khronos said.

Additional reporting by Neil Bennett

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