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OpenGL 4.1 Specs Released

The Khronos Group today announced the final specifications for the latest OpenGL release.  Version 4.1 of the open graphics spec looks to be aimed at moving ahead of its main competitor, DirectX 11.  One of the major features of interest to HPC users is the explicit ability to share data with OpenCL constructs.

New specs include:

  • Full compatibility with OpenGL ES 2.0 APIs for easier porting between mobile and desktop platforms;
  • The ability to query and load a binary for shader program objects to save re-compilation time;
  • The capability to bind programs individually to programmable stages for programming flexibility;
  • 64-bit floating-point component vertex shader inputs for higher geometric precision;
  • Multiple viewports for a rendering surface for increased rendering flexibility.

New ARB extensions include:

  • OpenGL sync objects linked to OpenCL event objects for enhanced OpenCL interoperability;
  • The ability to set stencil values in a fragment shader for enhanced rendering flexibility;
  • Features to improve robustness, for example when running WebGL applications;
  • Callback mechanisms to receive enhanced errors and warning messages.

Quite a few folks quoted the great things in this release.  Here are just a few:

The release of OpenGL 4.1 just five months after OpenGL 4.0 shows that collaborative innovation to build market opportunities for high-performance GPU acceleration is not slowing down. The ARB is also working hard to ensure backwards compatibility with each release so developers can absorb new functionality at their own pace,” said Barthold Lichtenbelt, OpenGL ARB working group chair and senior manager Core OpenGL at NVIDIA. “I am also pleased to announce that NVIDIA will release OpenGL 4.1 production drivers on our developer site for all Fermi-based graphics accelerators, including the GeForce GTX 400 series, during SIGGRAPH. OpenGL 4.1 is not just a specification – it’s here and now.”

AMD wishes to congratulate the ARB as it releases the OpenGL 4.1 Specification. AMD is committed to open standards and to OpenGL and plans to support OpenGL 4.1 in an upcoming driver release,” said Ben Bar-Haim, corporate vice president, software at AMD. “The ability of the ARB to produce new and updated graphics standards at a regular cadence speaks volumes to their ongoing efforts to ensure healthy advances in the field of graphics, and AMD is proud to have contributed to this.”

For more info on the latest in OpenGL goodness, check out their full release here.

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