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OpenCLTM API C++ bindings

Doxgen documentation for the bindings is available here:


  • include/CL/opencl.hpp: The latest, maintained, version of the C++ bindings. It should work with all versions of OpenCL (including 1.x). This is what most users will want.

  • include/CL/cl2.hpp: Includes opencl.hpp and emits a warning, for backwards compability.

  • docs: Doxygen file used to generate HTML documentation for opencl.hpp.

  • examples: A simple example application using the very basic features of the bindings.

  • tests: A (very small, incomplete) set of regression tests. Building the tests requires Python, Ruby, Unity and CMock. For the last two we use Unity 2.1.0 and CMock top-of-tree from Github (the version 2.0.204 on Sourceforge does not work).

  • CMakeLists.txt: Build system for the examples and tests and logic for the bindings installation.

Build Instructions

While the C++ Headers can be built and installed in isolation, it is part of the OpenCL SDK. If looking for streamlined build experience and a complete development package, refer to the SDK build instructions instead of the following guide.


The C++ Headers require:

  • the OpenCL Headers.
    • It is recommended to install the headers via CMake, however a convenience shorthand is provided. Providing OPENCL_CLHPP_HEADERS_DIR to CMake, one may specify the location of OpenCL Headers. By default, the C++ Headers will look for OpenCL Headers under ${OPENCL_DIST_DIR}/include.
  • the OpenCL-ICD-Loader when building the examples
    • It is recommended to install the ICD loader via CMake, however a convenience shorthand is provided. Providing OPENCL_CLHPP_LOADER_DIR to CMake, one may specify the location of the OpenCL ICD loader. By default, the C++ headers will look for OpenCL ICD loader under ${OPENCL_DIST_DIR}/lib.
  • The C++ Headers uses CMake for its build system. If CMake is not provided by your build system or OS package manager, please consult the CMake website.
  • The unit tests require CMock and Unity. To get these external dependencies, use --recursive when cloning the repository, or run git submodule update --init --recursive.
  • Generating the mock input requires Ruby.
  • Generating the docs requires Doxygen. When it is available, you can generate HTML documentation by building the docs target.

Example Build

  1. Clone this repo, the OpenCL ICD Loader and the OpenCL Headers:

     git clone --recursive
     git clone
     git clone
  2. Install OpenCL Headers CMake package

     cmake -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=./OpenCL-Headers/install -S ./OpenCL-Headers -B ./OpenCL-Headers/build 
     cmake --build ./OpenCL-Headers/build --target install
  3. Build and install OpenCL ICD Loader CMake package. (Note that CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH need to be an absolute path. Update as needed.)

     cmake -D CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/absolute/path/to/OpenCL-Headers/install -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=./OpenCL-ICD-Loader/install -S ./OpenCL-ICD-Loader -B ./OpenCL-ICD-Loader/build 
     cmake --build ./OpenCL-ICD-Loader/build --target install
  4. Build and install OpenCL C++ Headers CMake package.

     cmake -D CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH="/absolute/path/to/OpenCL-Headers/install;/absolute/path/to/OpenCL-ICD-Loader/install" -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=./OpenCL-CLHPP/install -S ./OpenCL-CLHPP -B ./OpenCL-CLHPP/build 
     cmake --build ./OpenCL-CLHPP/build --target install

Example Use

Example CMake invocation

cmake -D CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH="/chosen/install/prefix/of/headers;/chosen/install/prefix/of/loader;/chosen/install/prefix/of/cppheaders" /path/to/opencl/app

and sample CMakeLists.txt

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.0)
cmake_policy(VERSION 3.0...3.18.4)
add_executable(app main.cpp)
find_package(OpenCLHeaders REQUIRED)
find_package(OpenCLICDLoader REQUIRED)
find_package(OpenCLHeadersCpp REQUIRED)
target_link_libraries(app PRIVATE OpenCL::Headers OpenCL::OpenCL OpenCL::HeadersCpp)