Vulkan Runtime Libraries

November 16, 2023

Vulkan Runtime Libraries: A crucial component for high-performance graphics. Learn about its role and importance in graphics processing. You may have spotted Vulkan Runtime Libraries on your computer and thought it is a malicious program that steals personal information or harms your gaming performance. While it is important to be cautious and treat every unpermitted install as a potential threat, Vulkan Run Time Libraries from LunarG, Inc is not a virus or malware.

What is Vulkan?

Vulkan is a new cross-platform 3D graphics API from the Khronos Group. Designed to enable developers to create powerful, full-featured games and applications using the GPU hardware that’s already there, Vulkan is a major leap forward from previous generations of OpenGL. It delivers a more efficient driver with lower overhead and latency than previous versions of OpenGL and Direct3D. It also supports advanced features like ray-tracing, which is used to render the metal walls in Wolfenstein Youngblood, showing reflections on those walls and floor, as well as windows within the room.

The Vulkan 1.3 specification released today includes and mandates proven, developer-requested extensions that increase functionality, speed and quality for apps and games. The upcoming Roadmap 2022 milestone for mid-to-high-end hardware defines additional advanced features that are available starting this year, with further advancements planned for future releases.

A significant aspect of the Vulkan specification is that it allows the CPU to execute some acceleration structure build and update work in parallel with the rendering work, allowing higher overall throughput than if this was done solely on the device. This can be especially beneficial if the application is utilizing multiple CUDA cores, as is often the case for real-time graphics.

In addition, tracing a ray against an acceleration structure can be done with a number of logical phases, which can help improve performance and efficiency. This flexibility in the tracing process helps to avoid wasting computational resources when there is no intersection, or by focusing the energy of the ray only where necessary.

Performing acceleration structure build and update operations on the CPU can also be parallelized, which can further reduce processing times when there are enough available commands on the CPU to make this practical. This can be especially useful if the application is executing a large number of commands for each frame, or if there are a large amount of work remaining after completing all of the rendering tasks.

NVIDIA is at the forefront of Vulkan development, ensuring that our drivers are first to support the latest functionality, and encouraging developers to optimize their apps and games for the NVIDIA platform. Our Nsight suite of development tools is fully integrated with Vulkan, making debugging and optimizing a game for ray-tracing very simple.

What is Vulkan Runtime Libraries?

Vulkan is an application programming interface that allows for better graphics in video games and other applications. It is similar to OpenGL, but has more advanced features that allow for higher performance on modern GPUs. It is also more efficient in terms of CPU usage, which can help to reduce overall system resource consumption. It can also distribute work across multiple GPUs, allowing for more efficient rendering of complex scenes.

Depending on the video card you have installed, it may come preinstalled with Vulkan. This is often done by the video card manufacturers (NVIDIA or AMD), and you may not even know it. Alternatively, you can download it from the official Vulkan website or from MolkenVK, which is an open source Mac-friendly version of the API that operates within Metal.

You can install it on your computer by following the steps below:

After installation, you should be able to see it in your programs list under ‘Vulkan’. It should not be listed as malware, though it may be flagged by Windows Defender or your antivirus program. This is typically a false positive, and you can ignore it.

The program is completely safe to install, and does not pose any security risk to your system. It is used by video game developers to create better games, and it also helps with hardware optimization. It is a great way to make sure that your computer can run games at high quality with good frame rates.

Moreover, the Vulkan API is open source and cross-platform, so it should be able to run on many different operating systems. This is an important factor in gaming, as it will help to make it easier for game developers to port their games across platforms. This can lead to more games being released on more devices, which is always a good thing for gamers!

While it is safe to have Vulkan installed on your computer, it is important to understand what it does and what role it plays. It is not malware or a virus, and it is not a threat to your system in any way.

What is Vulkan RT?

Vulkan RT is an open source framework that allows developers to execute commands in parallel across multiple CPU cores, without having to rely on a driver-managed thread pool. This is possible because the deferred operations provided by Vulkan RT are executed in separate threads that can be managed independently of other driver work, allowing an application to distribute its workload as it sees fit.

Performing acceleration structure construction and updates on the GPU can require significant computational effort, so executing it alongside rendering can be tricky to schedule. Vulkan RT can move some of this work to the host, which can be done in parallel with the application’s renderer, improving throughput.

The Vulkan ray tracing engine is designed to be pipelined, allowing the system to run more commands in parallel. This can lead to performance gains, but it can also be difficult for applications to manage the execution of these commands in an efficient manner, resulting in uneven loads. Vulkan RT provides an API that allows an application to better balance its load by defining a set of worker threads that can be used to perform acceleration structure work in parallel with the rest of its rendering.

The Vulkan RT API requires the window system integration (WSI) extensions VK_KHR_swapchain and VK_KHR_surface to be present on an operating system. These extensions allow a desktop system’s display to handle rendering results done with the Vulkan core API, so that they can be displayed on the native surface. They also enable the vkCmd_accelerationStructureKHR and vkCmd_accelerationStructureUpdateKHR commands to be performed on the host. These are CPU-based versions of the corresponding device (GPU) commands, and they are enqueued into command buffers.

How do I remove Vulkan RT?

Vulkan RT is a low-level API that allows applications to work on the GPU before the main rendering. This can be useful for performance-sensitive applications, such as game engines, to minimize latency by completing CPU work just-in-time for rendering. It can also be used to track CPU-GPU timelines, investigate stutter and GPU cold spots to their origin on the CPU. NVIDIA offers a free utility called Nsight Systems that enables developers to view Vulkan usage on unified CPU-GPU timelines, debug stutter and track CPU origins. It is available for Linux, MacOS and Windows.

Trevett said that Vulkan is important because it’s the only modern API that’s both cross-platform and open-source. That’s why it’s the API of choice for Google Stadia and Steam Deck, as well as many PC games.

Ammar Fakhruddin

ABOUT AUTHOR

Ammar brings in 18 years of experience in strategic solutions and product development in Public Sector, Oil & Gas and Healthcare organizations. He loves solving complex real world business and data problems by bringing in leading-edge solutions that are cost effective, improve customer and employee experience. At Propelex he focuses on helping businesses achieve digital excellence using Smart Data & Cybersecurity solutions.


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