Updated: 2021-11-19

Compute APIs: CUDA, DirectCompute, OpenCL, etc.

Heterogeneous computing

Use more than one kind of processor or cores

  • CPU
  • GPU
  • Digital Signal Processors (DSP)
  • Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs)
  • other specialized processing capabilities

The main difference between OpenGL and OpenCL is that the OpenGL is used for graphics programming while the OpenCL is used for heterogeneous computing.


CUDA (or Compute Unified Device Architecture) is a parallel computing platform and application programming interface (API) that allows software to use certain types of graphics processing unit (GPU) for general purpose processing – an approach called general-purpose computing on GPUs (GPGPU). CUDA is a software layer that gives direct access to the GPU's virtual instruction set and parallel computational elements, for the execution of compute kernels.