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Vulkan: A Next Generation Graphics API for Android

Vulkan: A Next Generation Graphics API for Android
Michael Lentine


OpenGL ES is a widely successful graphics API, and is the predominant one in use across Android devices. While it is a familiar and easy to use API for developers due to the fact that it has many similarities with OpenGL, it unfortunately is not well suited for for mobile graphics architectures. As a consequence there is a large amount of computational work that must be performed by the graphics driver. This work not only reduces the computational time available to the application but is also unpredictable, as when exactly this work happens varies from driver to driver, often causing frame skips. OpenGL ES is also effectively limited to work using only a single thread on a single core in an era when the number of cores is continuously increasing, with high end phones now using eight cores.

This presentation will introduce the Vulkan API for Android. Vulkan is designed to be a cross-platform graphics API that allows the application to get as much performance as possible out of the GPU. This allows the application to achieve a significantly increased level of graphical fidelity, particularly on mobile architectures, while simultaneously reducing power and prolonging battery life.


Michael Lentine is a software engineer at Google where he has primarily focused on the Android graphics platform. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2012 where he focused on computer graphics and physically based simulation. He also has extensive experience working in graphics for both game and visual effects companies.