SIGGRAPH: OpenGL 4.3 includes compute shaders
More than 20 years after OpenGL 1.0 was published, The Khronos Group has released version 4.3 of the OpenGL graphics programming interface at this year's SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles. Along with a number of new features that extend its functionality, the latest version is also said to have improved rendering performance.
One of the most important changes over the previous version, OpenGL 4.2, is support for compute shaders that work with OpenCL. These compute shaders can be used for advanced calculations such as volume and geometry processing within the graphics pipeline, and Khronos says that the range of functions is comparable to that of DirectX 11 compute shaders. This means that tasks which previously had to be carried out by the main CPU processor can now be sent to the GPU for parallel processing – assuming, of course, that the software has been modified accordingly. Photo editing and geometric calculations are among the examples provided by Khronos, who says that more advanced effects in games are also possible. In addition, OpenGL 4.3 can be used to run mobile OpenGL ES 3.0 applications on a desktop, and, as in OpenGL ES 3.0, the EAC and ETC2 texture compression formats are now included.
The complete specification, including all changes and additions, is available on the OpenGL web site. NVIDIA is expected to release its first graphics drivers with OpenGL 4.3 support on its Developer Zone site later today. AMD has yet to confirm whether it plans to update its drivers with support for version 4.3 of OpenGL.