UXL Foundation and Khronos Collaborate on the SYCL Open Standard for C++ Programming of AI, HPC and Safety-Critical Systems

In a world where AI, HPC and Safety-Critical acceleration is shifting toward heterogeneous architectures that integrate processors with different architectures from multiple vendors, the need for seamless interoperability and shared open standards has never been more critical. That’s why the UXL Foundation (Unified Acceleration) and the Khronos Group have entered into a liaison agreement to help accelerate the evolution of open accelerated heterogeneous programming.


At the heart of the UXL-Khronos liaison is a mutual desire for cooperation and synergy to help foster the rapid evolution of a vibrant and open ecosystem to support heterogeneous programming. Both organizations aim to align their strengths, particularly in how SYCL from Khronos evolves to meet developer requirements as well as supporting and complementing the UXL Foundation libraries, and open source projects—and vice versa.


This cooperative spirit is driven by a shared commitment to advancing the industry for the greater good and ensuring that the combined efforts of both organizations lead to advancements that help developers write performance portable heterogeneous applications from a single C++ code base.


The SYCL standard is defined by members of the Khronos Group and was initiated to enable code for heterogeneous and offload processors to be written using modern C++, and to feed into the discussions on future ISO C++ releases. SYCL has delivered on this promise and is now a well established standard that developers around the world are using to write and deploy ground-breaking applications that can take advantage of multi-vendor HPC and AI acceleration platforms.  Work is also ongoing at Khronos on SYCL SC (Safety Critical); a derivative of SYCL designed to streamline safety certification in automotive, avionics, industrial, and medical markets.


The UXL Foundation defines the oneAPI specification which includes APIs to drive high performance libraries for C++ parallel routines, math, data analytics, AI, and more. Open source projects that implement the oneAPI specification use the SYCL standard to bring acceleration to diverse targets including AMD, Arm, Intel and NVIDIA processors. These projects help to expand the SYCL ecosystem by enabling highly optimized libraries for domains including BLAS, FFT, and neural networks. To ensure cross-platform portability, oneAPI implementations are required to be conformant to the SYCL 2020 specification and selected extensions.



“The Khronos Group warmly welcomes the UXL Foundation to the community of open standards organizations and are delighted that the Khronos SYCL standard provides the programming model that underpins the Foundation’s multi-architecture and multi-vendor accelerated libraries.  We look forward to a close cooperation with the Foundation as part of our shared mission to help developers use SYCL to write performance portable heterogeneous applications from a single C++ code base.” Dr Tom Deakin, University of Bristol, and Khronos SYCL Working Group Chair


“The UXL Foundation has a transformative vision for the future of accelerated computing. By building on the oneAPI specification and harnessing industry based open standards like SYCL and ISO C++ we are defining a vendor neutral way to develop software for heterogeneous architectures by embracing neutrality and independence.” Rod Burns, Vice President, Ecosystem Codeplay and Chair of the UXL Foundation Steering Committee


“This liaison encourages communication between Khronos and the UXL Foundation, and will boost the exchange of requirements, use cases and feedback in both directions. In a specialized industry like Safety Critical it is particularly important for experts to collaborate and exchange ideas and for specification authors, implementers and integrators to work together to ensure the safety of the whole.” Verena Beckham, Vice President, Safety Engineering Codeplay, Khronos SYCL SC Working Group Chair and UXL Safety Critical Special Interest Group Chair


Shaping the Future of Heterogeneous Programming with C++

This liaison is not just about technologies; it’s about building a community and an ecosystem where SYCL and oneAPI can thrive together. Key objectives of this cooperation include:

  • Leveraging Unique Strengths: Khronos and UXL will each focus on their core competencies while benefiting from the other’s ecosystem efforts.  Khronos is responsible for defining the SYCL standard and extensions under its proven IP framework, with associated conformance tests, and UXL is focused on the ongoing development of the oneAPI libraries, and coordinating feedback on use cases and high-level requirements to further drive the evolution of the SYCL standard.
  • Reduce Developer Challenges: Khronos and UXL will coordinate the development of tooling and technologies that help developers use SYCL to write performance portable heterogeneous applications from a single C++ code base. The UXL Foundation libraries build on SYCL to provide high performance implementations of important computational patterns from numerical linear algebra, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and data analytics, and so together provide a richer cross-platform ecosystem in which application developers can thrive.
  • Build Synergy Around Safety-Critical Systems:  The SYCL SC Working Group and UXL Foundation Safety Critical Special Interest Group will share expertise to accelerate the integration of SYCL and SYCL-based libraries and projects in systems that can be certified to safety standards such as ISO 26262 or DO-178C.

The liaison between Khronos and the UXL Foundation complements the work taking place within the two organizations, helping to bring feedback and use cases from the developer community to Khronos Working Groups. It also solidifies opportunities for collaboration on events that connect the developer community with the open standards-based solutions they need to build the next generation of software and technologies.


Community at the Core

Voices from the developer community are crucial to ensuring that Khronos and UXL stay focused on market needs and responsive to user requirements, and there are numerous resources available, and channels to get involved and provide feedback:

Khronos SYCL Resources

UXL and oneAPI Resources


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