What Is Khronos?

Khronos is an open consortium of companies who are working together to standardize APIs. Khronos includes members from many large companies across different industry sectors, including Samsung and Google, GPU designers with a mobile focus such as ARM, Qualcomm, Imagination Technologies and VeriSilicon, PC-centric graphics manufacturers such as AMD, NVIDIA and Intel, and game engine vendors such as Epic, Unity and Valve. By working together, Khronos members ensure that an API can be implemented efficiently by each hardware vendor member, and that the software developer members can demand the features that they need.

Importantly, Khronos is made up of representatives of companies who implement and use the APIs that Khronos defines – Khronos is not a separate company with its own commercial interests. Naturally, the shape of each standard is determined by the priorities of each member, but wide industry representation means that Khronos APIs can be supported on many different types of hardware, and for many different applications. The consortium also allows companies selective use of their intellectual property in a way that benefits the industry as a whole.

Khronos is split into Working Groups, which are responsible for defining different standards. For example, different Working Groups are responsible for OpenGL, OpenGL ES and Vulkan. Khronos also has standards in a number of other APIs for interfacing with special-purpose hardware, such as parallel computation, computer vision and web-based graphics.

By offering conformance tests, Khronos can ensure that implementations of the APIs that its working group defines meet requirements for consistency. A company can only report that it supports a Khronos API if the hardware passes conformance tests and the conformance submission passes review by the relevant working group.