The Khronos Group, Inc. is an open, non-profit, member-driven consortium of 170 organizations developing, publishing and maintaining royalty-free interoperability standards for 3D graphics, virtual reality, augmented reality, parallel computation, vision acceleration and machine learning. The open standards and associated conformance tests enable software applications and middleware to effectively harness authoring and accelerated playback of dynamic media across a wide variety of platforms and devices. The group is based in Beaverton, Oregon.
The Khronos Group was founded in 2000 by companies including 3Dlabs, ATI, Discreet, Evans & Sutherland, Intel, SGI, and Sun Microsystems. Promoter members include AMD, Apple, Arm, Epic Games, Google, Huawei, Ikea, Imagination, Intel, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony, Valve and Verisilcon. Its president is Neil Trevett.
Specifications and working groups
Each specification is managed by a working group which is established to define the requirements, solicit input, discuss, and create a specification. There are currently 16 working groups.
Typically, Khronos first creates an exploratory group to gauge industry interest before creating a working group, which companies can join as members to assist in the development of the standard. Khronos and the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) established an Embedded Camera API Exploratory Group to explore industry interest in the creation of open, royalty-free API standards for controlling embedded cameras and sensors.
- 3D Commerce, aligns the 3D asset workflow for online retail
- ANARI, Analytic Rendering Interface for Data Visualization
- COLLADA, a file-format intended to facilitate interchange of 3D assets
- EGL, an interface between Khronos rendering APIs such as OpenGL ES or OpenVG and the underlying native platform window system
- glTF, a file format specification for 3D scenes and models
- KTX, a container file format for storing GPU-ready texture data
- NNEF reduces machine learning deployment fragmentation by enabling a rich mix of neural network training tools and inference engines to be used by applications across a diverse range of devices and platforms
- OpenCL, a cross-platform computation API
- OpenGL, a cross-platform computer graphics API
- OpenGL ES, a derivative of OpenGL for use on mobile and embedded systems, such as cell phones, portable gaming devices, and more
- OpenGL SC, a safety critical profile of OpenGL ES designed to meet the needs of the safety-critical market
- OpenVG, an API for accelerating processing of 2D vector graphics
- OpenVX, Hardware acceleration API for Computer Vision applications and libraries
- OpenXR, an open and royalty-free standard for virtual reality and augmented reality applications and devices
- SPIR, an intermediate compiler target for OpenCL and Vulkan
- SYCL, a single-source C++ DSEL for heterogeneous computing
- Vulkan, a low-overhead computer graphics API
- Vulkan SC, based on the existing Vulkan API specification to enable safety critical industries
A timeline of API Specification ratification and releases can be found on the Khronos Group website.
- OpenML, an API for capturing, transporting, processing, displaying, and synchronizing digital media
- OpenKODE, an API for providing abstracted, portable access to operating system resources such as file systems, networks and math libraries
- OpenKCam, Advanced Camera Control API
- OpenMAX, a layered set of three programming interfaces of various abstraction levels, providing access to multimedia functionality
- OpenSL ES, an audio API tuned for embedded systems, standardizing access to features such as 3D positional audio and MIDI playback
- OpenWF, APIs for 2D graphics composition and display control
- StreamInput, an API for consistently handling input devices
Membership and contributions
Khronos members may contribute to the development of Khronos API specifications, vote at various stages before public deployment, and accelerate delivery of their platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests. To ensure that the standards are consistently implemented and to create a reliable platform for developers, any product that implements a Khronos API standard must pass conformance tests. An API Adopter Program enables companies to test their products for conformance. Membership in Khronos Group provides access to an IP framework designed to protect participant IP. Khronos members agree not to assert IP rights against adopters implementing Khronos specifications. The IP framework protects Khronos members from exposure to patent lawsuits and reduces the amount of IP that needs to be licensed from other group members.
- Promoter: Full working group participation with voting rights, plus the right to designate a Director to the Khronos Board.
- Contributor: Full working group participation with voting rights.
- Non-Profit: Full working group participation. Available to registered non-profit organizations.
- Academic: Full working group participation. Available to accredited academic institutions.
- Associate: Full working group participation. Available to companies with up to 100 employees.