Release Notes for PoCL 6.0

New CPU driver which uses Threading Building Blocks for task scheduling

The ‘cpu-tbb’ device driver uses the Intel oneAPI Threading Building Blocks (oneTBB) library for task scheduling. Except for the task scheduler, the driver is identical to the old ‘cpu’ driver which uses a custom task scheduler and calls pthreads directly.

Experimental cl_ext_buffer_device_address prototype

This new draft extension prototype enables allocating cl_mem buffers with client-accessible physical addresses which is guaranteed to be fixed for the lifetime of the buffer. The main difference to coarse-grain SVM allocations is that all SVM allocations require always the virtual address address to match the device address, thus mapping the buffer address range also to the vmem even though its host-device transfers were managed only via explicit memcopies by the application.

Although it’s a very simple incremental extension to the basic clCreateBuffer() API, it enables implementing hipMalloc() HIP/CUDA and omp_target_alloc() OpenMP allocation calls when the application doesn’t require a platform-wide unified address space.

There is also a prototype implementation of the extension in Rusticl/Mesa. chipStar can optionally use the extension for CUDA/HIP inputs, if neither Unified Shared Memory (Intel extension) nor OpenCL 2.0+ Coarse-Grain SVM is supported by the OpenCL device/platform, and the HIP/CUDA application doesn’t require unified address space, but explicitly specifies the memory copy directions.

Multi-device command buffer infrastructure

Initial support for cl_khr_command_buffer_multi_device has been added. It is now possible to create command buffers associated with multiple command queues that are not associated with the same device and to remap command buffers to new (sets of) command queues. The support should be driver-agnostic but has not been tested with other drivers than CPUs. There likely are no measurable performance gains from the current implementation either, as everything happens in the runtime layer of the library.

Command queue priority/throttle hints

Minimal implementation of cl_khr_priority_hints and cl_khr_throttle_hints has been added. As the extension specification states that these hints provide no guarantees of any particular behavior (or lack thereof) they are treated as a no-op. However specifying them no longer causes clCreateCommandQueueWithProperties to return an error.

Driver-specific features

CPU drivers

Support for using OpenMP for task scheduling in the ‘cpu’ driver

OpenMP is disabled by default, but can be enabled with the CMake option ENABLE_HOST_CPU_DEVICES_OPENMP. The ‘cpu-minimal’ driver does not support OpenMP since it’s supposed to be a single-threaded minimal driver.


  • The CPU drivers can be now used for running SYCL programs compiled with the oneAPI binary distributions of DPC++ by adding the following environment settings: POCL_DRIVER_VERSION_OVERRIDE=2023. POCL_CPU_VENDOR_ID_OVERRIDE=32902.

  • Added support for the __opencl_c_work_group_collective_functions feature.

  • Improved SPIR-V support on architectures other than ARM/x86 (like RISC-V).

  • Additional intel_subgroup_shuffle functions (intel_subgroup_block_{read,write}*)

  • Implemented new experimental extensions: * cl_pocl_svm_rect: clEnqueueSVMMemFillRectPOCL and clEnqueueSVMMemcpyRectPOCL. These implement rectangular-region memcpy/memfill with SVM memory. * cl_pocl_command_buffer_svm: additional SVM-related commands for use with command buffers, such as clCommandSVMMemcpyRectPOCL and clCommandSVMMemfillRect * cl_pocl_command_buffer_host_buffer: cl_mem & host-memory related commands for use with command buffers, such as clCommandReadBuffer, clCommandReadBufferRect etc

  • clGetDeviceAndHostTimer() implemented.

Remote driver

Basis for the coarse-grain SVM support

The CG SVM support works best if the client manages to mmap() the device-side allocated SVM pool to the same address as in the server-side. If not, SPIR-V manipulation is done to shift the offset of the memory accessess in the execution kernels. This is a work-in-progress, but is usable for testing client apps and libraries that require CG SVM as it seems to work often enough.

Vsock support

Adds support for vsock communication to PoCL-Remote. Vsock is a high-performance, low-latency, secure, and scalable network communication protocol that accelerates guest-host communication in virtualized environments.

clCompileProgram() and clLinkProgram()

Basic compile and link support. Tested with conformance suite’s compiler/test_compiler test sets execute_after_simple_compile_and_link, execute_after_simple_compile_and_link_no_device_info and execute_after_two_file_link test cases, as well as chipStar, which uses the API for enhancing SPIR-V portability at runtime.

USM indirect access kernel exec info support

Minimal implementation of the general USM indirect access kernel execution info flag. It doesn’t differentiate between the different types of USM, but always assumes all USM allocations must be synchronized when launching a kernel with the general indirect access flag set.

The buffers-to-synchronize are recorded at enqueue time. That is, if new USM allocations are added after the enqueue they won’t get synchronized.

Level Zero driver

Various improvements were made:

  • Optimized the host-device synchronization overhead, this should be visible mainly with kernels that take less than a millisecond to run

  • Implemented support for ZE_experimental_relaxed_allocation_limits. If the Level Zero driver supports it, PoCL-Level0 will set CL_DEVICE_MAX_MEM_ALLOC_SIZE to 85% of the available device memory. PoCL will automatically compile kernels with both 32bit and 64bit pointer offsets, and selects the correct version before execution.

  • clLinkProgram() will now use llvm-link instead of spirv-link from spirv tools. This is unfortunately necessary because spirv-link does not work anymore with files which have different SPIR-V versions. spirv-link is not required for building the driver anymore.

  • Fix passing sub-buffers as kernel arguments.

CUDA driver

Various smaller fixes and enhancements, for example:

  • Added sub_group_shuffle and sub_group_shuffle_xor support for the following data types: char, uchar, short, ushort, int, uint and float. cl_khr_subgroup_shuffle device extension is advertised when device is capable. Note: support for long, ulong and double data types are missing.

  • Fixed kernel compilation for device programs with subgroup ballot and shuffles for recent SM architectures (SM >= 8.0).

  • Fixed clLinkProgram and clCompileProgram to work correctly

  • Fixed memory leaks in clReleaseProgram

  • CL_DEVICE_MAX_MEM_ALLOC_SIZE limit increased to free memory reported by cuMemGetInfo

AlmaIF driver (FPGA interfacing)

  • Added experimental OpenCL pipe support

  • Adds some experimental built-in kernels: sobel, gaussian, phase, magnitude, nonmax suppression and Canny

Notable fixes

There were a lot of fixed done over the release cycles. Some of the most notable/user facing ones are listed below:

  • Fixed a buffer overflow when the kernel had SVM/USM indirect pointers.

  • is now linked with –exclude-libs,ALL linker flag, so all imported Clang/LLVM symbols should be hidden if libpocl is linked with a statically linked LLVM.

  • clGetDeviceInfo(CL_DEVICE_IL_VERSION) returns all supported SPIR-V versions, not just the latest.

  • PoCL is no longer built automatically with LTTNG suppport, it needs to be explicitly enabled by a CMake option

  • clWaitForEvents now calls clFlush before waiting on an event

  • Non-versioned binaries of llvm-spirv can be now autodetected (their version is checked to match LLVM version)

  • New environment variable POCL_IGNORE_CL_STD=1 will skip any -cl-std=XY option from build options of clCompileProgram and clBuildProgram. This has been found useful when running user programs which supply -cl-std=CL2.0, requiring the abundance of features in the OpenCL 2.0, while in fact can run with the optional OpenCL 3.0 features implemented by PoCL.

  • Support for clCreateBufferWithPropertiesINTEL (alias for clCreateBufferWithProperties)

Deprecation/feature removal notices

  • Support for LLVM versions 10 to 13 inclusive has been removed. LLVM 14 to 18 are supported.

  • Support for cl_khr_spir (SPIR 1.x/2.0) has been removed. SPIR-V remains supported.

  • Support for building with OpenCL headers and ICD which don’t support OpenCL 3.0 is deprecated, and will be removed in a future release. might still be loadable by older ICDs, but this configuration will not be tested or supported.