The Khronos Group

May 20, 2023

The Khronos Group is an industry consortium that creates and promotes open standards for graphics, parallel computing, and vision processing. The group was founded in 2000 by a group of leading companies in the computer graphics industry, including 3Dlabs, ATI Technologies, Discreet, Evans & Sutherland, Intel, NVIDIA, SGI, and Sun Microsystems. The group is named after the Greek god of time, Khronos, as a nod to its goal of creating standards that are future-proof and can evolve with changing technology and needs.

The Khronos Group is responsible for developing and maintaining several important standards that are used in a variety of applications, including gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality, and web graphics. Some of the most well-known Khronos standards include:

  • OpenGL: A cross-platform API for rendering 2D and 3D graphics. OpenGL provides a standardized way for developers to interact with graphics hardware, making it easier to write graphics-intensive applications that work on multiple platforms.

  • Vulkan: A low-overhead, cross-platform API for 3D graphics and compute. Vulkan is designed to provide better performance and more efficient use of system resources than OpenGL, particularly on modern hardware.

  • OpenCL: An open standard for parallel programming across multiple devices, including CPUs, GPUs, and other accelerators. OpenCL allows developers to write programs that can take advantage of the processing power of multiple devices to perform complex calculations and simulations.

  • WebGL: A JavaScript API for rendering 3D graphics within a web browser. WebGL is based on OpenGL and allows developers to create interactive 3D graphics that can be embedded in web pages.

  • OpenXR: An open standard for AR and VR applications, designed to enable developers to create applications that work across a wide range of AR and VR devices. OpenXR provides a consistent API for interacting with AR and VR hardware, making it easier for developers to create applications that work on multiple platforms.

In addition to these standards, the Khronos Group is also involved in developing standards for vision processing, including neural network acceleration and object detection.

The Khronos Group is not a standards body in the traditional sense. Instead, it operates as a consortium of companies that work together to develop and promote open standards. Members of the Khronos Group include hardware and software vendors, academic institutions, and individual developers. Membership in the Khronos Group is open to anyone who is interested in participating in the development of open standards for graphics and computing.

The Khronos Group operates on a consensus-based model, with members working together to develop and refine standards. Proposed changes to standards are discussed and debated by members, with the goal of achieving consensus on changes that will benefit the industry as a whole. Once a consensus is reached, the changes are incorporated into the standard and made available to the public. The Khronos Group encourages participation from all members, regardless of the size or resources of their organization.

The Khronos Group is also involved in promoting the adoption of its standards. This includes working with hardware and software vendors to ensure that their products support Khronos standards, as well as providing resources and tools for developers who are interested in using these standards. The Khronos Group also hosts conferences and events focused on graphics and computing, providing opportunities for members to showcase their products and share their experiences with others in the industry.