SYCL and DPC++ for Aurora

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SYCL (pronounced ‘sickle’) is a royalty-free standard from the Khronos group for a cross-platform abstraction layer that builds on the underlying concepts, portability and efficiency of OpenCL. It enables code for heterogeneous processors to be written in a “single-source” style using completely standard C++ ( Multiple SYCL implementation exist today (from Intel, Codeplay, and LLVM) and support Intel, NVIDIA and AMD hardware.

DPC++ (Data Parallel C++) is an Intel open-source implementation of SYCL. In addition to full support of the SYCL standard, DPC++ includes additional capabilities including unified shared memory and reduction operations, which could be incorporated into future versions of the SYCL language. The major DPC++ extensions are shown in the table below. The DPC++ compiler is a part of the Intel OneAPI Base Toolkit. For high-level description of oneAPI, see the Programming Guide. A DPC++ implementation is available for NVDIA GPU’s.

DPC++ implementation
Extensions Description
Unified Shared Memory(USM) Defines pointer-based memory accesses and management interfaces.
In-order queues Defines simple in-order semantics for queues, to simplify common coding patterns
Reduction Provides reduction abstraction to the ND-range form of Parallel_for clause
Optional lambda name Removes requirement to manually name lambdas that define kernels
Subgroups Defines a grouping of work-items within a work-group
Data flow pipes Enables efficient First-In, First-Out (FIFO) communication (FPGA-only)


To assist in migrating CUDA applications to modern C++ that incorporates portable industry standard SYCL, Intel provides DPC++ Compatibility tool, dpct. For simple CUDA programs, the conversion of a CUDA source file to DPC++ can be as simple as running the conversion tool on the CUDA source file.


  • Intel has first four chapters of the book “Data Parallel C++: Mastering DPC++ for Programming Heterogeneous Systems Using C++ and SYCL” and the preview of the first four chapters and the accompanying code samples are available for downloading here.
  • DPC++ sample codes located in the Intel space on GitHub outline the basic structure of the SYCL programming model.
  • Codeplay provides additional documentation accompanied by examples to assist in CUDA to SYCL migration.
  • Argonne Leadership Computing Facility has created a set of examples  available for download at