Khronos Designed New Open Standard, the SYCL SC, for Safety-Critical Applications

By Chad Cox

Production Editor

Embedded Computing Design

March 23, 2023


Beaverton, Oregon. As an open group promoting the advancement of interoperability standards, the Khronos Group, created the SYCL SC Working Group for high-level heterogeneous computing framework. SYCL SC members will push toward streamlining certification of safety-critical systems in automotive, avionics, medical, and industrial markets. The group is open to any Khronos member, with membership open to all.

"Safety-critical markets such as automotive and avionics are seeing dramatic increases in software and hardware complexity, often automating advanced functions traditionally performed by humans. The need for sophisticated, high-performance compute acceleration drives the need for powerful, high-level programming abstractions-resulting in strong industry interest in evolving SYCL to meet the requirements of safety-critical systems," said Verena Beckham, vice president of safety engineering at Codeplay and SYCL SC pro tempore co-chair.

With safety-critical systems ever expanding with more autonomy of machines that need to be secured. In the past year, the Khronos community has been providing research and gathering a general consensus on industrial requirements and specific use cases to design for the new open standard. Using C++17, SYCL SC leverages SYCL 2020 standard for simultaneous heterogenous compute devices.

To better simplify development and safety certification of parallel processing (AI and ML), SYCL SC closes the scope between low-level APIs (Vulkan SC) and C++ high-level language. "SYCL SC will be a key component of many robust, safety-critical compute stacks. With Vulkan SC and OpenVX™ the industry already has access to low-level compute, and high-level computer vision and machine learning APIs,” said Kenneth Wenger, senior director of research & innovation at CoreAVI and SYCL SC pro tempore co-chair.

SYCL SC follows the new MISRA C++ 202X guidelines and support safety certification standards such as:

  • RTCA DO-178C / EASA ED-12C (avionics)
  • ISO 26262/21448 (automotive)
  • IEC 61508 (industrial)
  • IEC 62304 (Medical)

"Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America is delighted to join the SYCL SC Working Group to strengthen industry adoption of safety-critical development standards, as ADAS/AD systems harness heterogeneous computing hardware," said Sundararajan Ramalingam, vice president Autonomous Driving at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America.

For more information, visit

Chad Cox. Production Editor, Embedded Computing Design, has responsibilities that include handling the news cycle, newsletters, social media, and advertising. Chad graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in Cultural and Analytical Literature.

More from Chad