[Bf-cycles] Boltzmann Initiative and Cycles?

Brecht Van Lommel brechtvanlommel at pandora.be
Mon Nov 16 22:24:10 CET 2015

This seems to be AMD's equivalent to the NVidia CUDA toolkit. The main
interesting thing for Cycles is that this can compile to both AMD GPUs
and NVidia GPUs (still using the CUDA toolkit underneath though).

It remains to be seen if using this is actually a good idea for
Cycles, there's a bunch of questions:

* What are the advantages over OpenCL, why use this instead of an open standard?
* What about Intel GPUs? Do we need OpenCL for those anyway, and if so
why not use OpenCL for AMD too?
* Or is this a sign that OpenCL is slowly dying, and eventually we'll
have no choice but to use this?
* Will all CUDA features that we use be available and will performance
be equally good?
* Will this work on OS X? NVidia has their own extra CUDA driver
there, will AMD provide the same?
* Does it allow dynamic loading, so that a single Blender executable
works on all computers regardless of the GPU?

IF this can replace CUDA and OpenCL backends in Cycles then that could
simplify things, but it would be unfortunate to give up on OpenCL and
go with something proprietary instead.

I still hope the eventually there will be proper OpenCL support from
all vendors, or even better, native support for GPUs in LLVM Clang.
But so far the fragmentation isn't getting any better, with Apple
choosing Metal over Vulkan, NVidia not supporting OpenCL properly, and
OpenCL not providing enough control for optimal CPU performance.

On Mon, Nov 16, 2015 at 5:52 PM, Zauber Paracelsus <zauber at gridmail.org> wrote:
> So, AMD has launched what they call the Boltzmann Initiative, with the
> apparent aim to create a compiler that allows CUDA to work on AMD
> graphics hardware.
> And I just have to wonder: what affect would this have on
> Blender/Cycles, especially in light of the relatively recent addition of
> the OpenCL split-kernel work?
> PS: Sorry for not providing a link, but doing so caused my original
> message to be blocked by the spam filters.
> _______________________________________________
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