Unterguggenberger, J., Kerbl, B., & Wimmer, M. (2023). Vulkan all the way: Transitioning to a modern low-level graphics API in academia. Computers and Graphics, 111, 155–165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cag.2023.02.001
For over two decades, the OpenGL API provided users with the means for implementing versatile, feature-rich, and portable real-time graphics applications. Consequently, it has been widely adopted by practitioners and educators alike and is deeply ingrained in many curricula that teach real-time graphics for higher education. Over the years, the architecture of graphics processing units (GPUs) incrementally diverged from OpenGL's conceptual design. The more recently introduced Vulkan API provides a more modern, fine-grained approach for interfacing with the GPU, which allows a high level of controllability and, thereby, deep insights into the inner workings of modern GPUs. This property makes the Vulkan API especially well suitable for teaching graphics programming in university education, where fundamental knowledge shall be conveyed. Hence, it stands to reason that educators who have their students’ best interests at heart should provide them with corresponding lecture material. However, Vulkan is notoriously verbose and rather challenging for first-time users, thus transitioning to this new API bears a considerable risk of failing to achieve expected teaching goals. In this paper, we document our experiences after teaching Vulkan in both introductory and advanced graphics courses side-by-side with conventional OpenGL. A collection of surveys enables us to draw conclusions about perceived workload, difficulty, and students’ acceptance of either approach. In doing so, we identify suitable conditions and recommendations for teaching Vulkan to both undergraduate and graduate students.
Advanced Computational Design: F77 (FWF Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF))
Visual Computing and Human-Centered Technology: 100%