Vulkano: setup

This are incomplete notes.


Buffers are used to read and write data.

Device is channel to a physical device (gpu).

Command buffer executes all commands in one go, for efficiency.


vulkano = "0.20.0"
vulkano-shaders = "0.20.0"

Before anything can be done, create an Instance, which is the entry point to the Vulkan library.

Next select a PhysicalDevice, and finally create a Device which represents a channel to the physical device.

use vulkano::instance::{Instance, InstanceExtensions, PhysicalDevice};

let instance = Instance::new(None, &InstanceExtensions::none(), None).unwrap();

// get the first available physical device
let physical_device = PhysicalDevice::enumerate(&instance).next().unwrap();

To perform an operation it has to be submitted to a queue, and a queue family has to be selected before a Device can be created.

let queue_family = physical_device.queue_families()
    .find(|q| q.supports_graphics())

Finally a Device along with a Queue can be created.

use vulkano::device::{Device, DeviceExtensions, Features};

let priority = 0.5; // between 0.0 and 1.0
let dev_extensions = DeviceExtensions {
    // This is required for the compute shaders to work
    khr_storage_buffer_storage_class: true,

let (device, mut queues) = Device::new(
    [(queue_family, priority)].iter().cloned()

let queue = queue.next().unwrap();


A buffer is used to share data with the gpu. Buffers can be created from either an iterator or data using either # CpuAccessibleBuffer::from_iter or CpuAccessibleBuffer::from_data.

Note that the data has to be laid out correctly. Variables in GLSL

The CpuAccessibleBuffer can be used to both read and write data to and from the gpu.

use vulkano::buffer::{BufferUsage, CpuAccessibleBuffer};

let data = 123;
let buffer = CpuAccessibleBuffer::from_data(

Command buffers

Unlike a buffer that stores data, the command buffer holds commands that will be executed by the GPU.

It's not possible to execute a command directly on the GPU so an AutoCommandBuffer is required.

Following code will copy the values from the src to the dst buffer.

use vulkano::command_buffer::{CommandBuffer, AutoCommandBufferBuilder};
use vulkano::sync::GpuFuture;

let src = CpuAccessibleBuffer::from_iter(

let dst = CpuAccessibleBuffer::from_iter(
    (0..10).map(|_| 0),

let mut builder = AutoCommandBufferBuilder::new(

// Command to execute: copy_buffer
builder.copy_buffer(src.clone(), dst.clone()).unwrap();
let command_buf = builder.build().unwrap();

// Execute the command
let finished = command_buf.execute(queue.clone()).unwrap();

// Drive the command to completion.
// Without this the copy won't happen.

// Data now contains the values from src,
// read out of the dst buffer
let data = *dst.read().unwrap();

Compute shader

A shader is a program that runs on the gpu. Shaders are written in GLSL and compiled to SPIR-V using vulkano-shaders in this instance.

The following shader has two descriptors: Data and MoreData. The binding represents the order the buffers was added.

mod cs {
    vulkano_shaders::shader! {
        ty: "compute",
        src: "
# version 450

layout(local_size_x = 1, local_size_y = 1, local_size_z = 1) in;

layout(set = 0, binding = 0) buffer Data {
    uint value;
} data;

layout(set = 0, binding = 1) buffer MoreData {
    uint value;
} more_data;

void main() {
    data.value = 123;
    mode_data.value = 234;

struct Data { val: u32 }
struct MoreData { val: u32 }

fn main() {
    // .. code from earlier
    use vulkan::pipeline::ComputePipeline;
    use vulkan::descriptor::PipelineLayuotAbstract;
    use vulkan::descriptor::descriptor_set::PersistentDescriptorSet;

    let data_buffer = CpuAccessibleBuffer::from_data(
        false, // don't cache data on the cpu
        Data { val: 0 }

    let more_data_buffer = CpuAccessibleBuffer::from_data(
        false, // don't cache data on the cpu
        MoreData { val: 0 }

    // load shader module
    let shader = cs::Shader::load(device.clone()).unwrap();

    let pipeline = Arc::new(ComputePipeline::new(
        &(),    // SpecializationConstants
        None,   // Cache

    let layout = compute_pipeline.layout().descriptor_set_layout(0).unwrap();

    // note that all sets will be present at the time of execution (of the shader)
    // the set in the compute shader in this example is zero
    let set = Arc::new(

    let workgrup = [1, 1, 1]; // x, y and z
    let builder = AutoCommandBufferBuilder::new(device.clone(), queue.family()).unwrap();
    builder.dispatch(workgroup, pipeline.clone(), set.clone(), ()).unwrap();
    let command_buffer = builder.build().unwrap();

    // execute compute shader
    let result = command_buffer.execute(queue.clone()).unwrap();

    // access the data
    let buffer_data = &*buffer.read().unwrap();