Khronos Calls for Participation in SYCL Safety-Critical Exploratory API Forum

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Beaverton, OR – March 23, 2022 6 AM PT – Today, The Khronos Group, an open consortium of companies creating advanced acceleration interoperability standards, has announced a call for participation in a new exploratory forum to examine the need for an API that leverages the widely adopted SYCL standard for safety-critical industries such as automotive, avionics, medical, and industrial markets. The new SYCL SC Exploratory Forum is open to all at no cost, including non-Khronos members, and has been created to gather requirements for a high-level abstraction API for safety-critical heterogeneous computing.
First introduced in 2014, SYCL is a C++ based heterogeneous parallel programming framework for accelerating High-Performance Computing (HPC), machine learning, embedded computing, and compute-intensive desktop applications on a wide range of processor architectures, including CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, and tensor accelerators. The potential goals of a SYCL SC API would be to adhere to MISRA C++ 202X guidelines and align with safety certification standards such as RTCA DO-178C Level A / EASA ED-12C (avionics), ISO 26262/21448 (automotive), IEC 61508 (industrial), and IEC 62304 (Medical).
SYCL SC would also complement the recently released Khronos Vulkan SC specification for lower-level access to GPU acceleration for advanced graphics and compute applications.
All participants will be able to discuss use cases and requirements for a unified parallel programming interface for C++ to accelerate market growth. This API would be designed to reduce development and certification costs in safety-critical markets where using the SYCL higher-level programming model could improve programming productivity. If the Exploratory Forum reaches a significant consensus then Khronos will work to initiate a formal Working Group to develop SYCL SC specifications.
Any companies, consortiums, open-source participants, and industry experts who are willing to sign a simple project NDA are welcome to join, at no cost. All participants will have an equal voice in exploring industry needs for, and benefits of, a safety-critical API based on SYCL. The aim of the group is to create a consensus around a Scope of Work (SOW) document describing the objectives and requirements, which would serve as a basis for the creation of a Khronos Working Group tasked with the definition of such a standard.
The forum is open to all proposals and relevant topics but will not discuss detailed technical design contributions to protect participants’ intellectual property (IP). The Exploratory Forum is expected to meet online over a period of several months starting on April 4, 2022. Interested participants should sign the NDA and register their interest here.
Industry leaders such as Codeplay and CoreAVI are spearheading the exploratory forum.
Kenneth Wenger, Senior Director Research & Innovation at CoreAVI and active participant in SYCL and Vulkan Safety-Critical Working Groups says: “We have seen an explosion in Machine Learning and AI solutions over the past decade due in part to the ecosystem of open standard libraries and frameworks that enable engineers to quickly prototype ideas. A key player in this ecosystem, Khronos has developed compute APIs like OpenCL™ and SYCL. Now, as the need increases for safety-critical APIs that can meet application engineers at levels of abstraction that they are familiar with, Khronos members are developing those standards. Vulkan SC facilitates deterministic execution of compute and graphics operations and OpenVX™ provides a safety profile for deploying discrete vision algorithms and Neural Network inferencing. SYCL SC is the next logical step to provide a full stack of SC APIs that can meet each required level of abstraction: Low level compute (Vulkan SC), Computer Vision and NNs (OpenVX), parallel programming interface at a C++ level (SYCL SC)”.
Verena Beckham, VP of Safety Engineering at Codeplay states: “At Codeplay, we believe that the future of technology should be built on open industry standards, especially safety-critical systems. We have led the development of SYCL, the open standard to accelerate AI and HPC applications via heterogeneous computing. Now we look forward to helping do the same for safety-critical software. To make this a success we need to listen to companies developing the next generation of safety-critical hardware and software, to understand their requirements and be able to create the standard they are looking for.”