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Technical implementation

The Generic Graphics Accelerator uses the ARM® Mali™ OpenGL ES Emulator to map OpenGL ES API calls in the target to the OpenGL implementation of the graphics card on the host.

The following figure shows how the mapping is implemented:

Figure 8-1 Generic Graphics Accelerator design

In this figure:

  • 1 is the SWI signal.
  • 2 is the CADIMemRead signal from the Sidechannel plugin to read from memory in the target into the write buffer.
  • 3 is the CADIMemWrite signal from the Sidechannel plugin to write to memory in the target from the read buffer.
  • The Generic Graphics Accelerator comprises the Shim Layer and the Reconciler.

The major components in this figure are:

Shim Layer
Plays the role of the GPU driver. Implements the OpenGL ES API used by the application running on the target, and communicates with the Sidechannel Plugin. The Shim Layer is implemented by the Shim library.
Sidechannel Plugin
Provides a communication channel for messages and data passed between the target and host.
The application that calls OpenGL ES APIs on the target is in a different address space from the OpenGL ES Emulator running on the host. The Sidechannel Plugin communicates between these different address spaces.
Bridges the communication between the Sidechannel Plugin and the OpenGL ES Emulator.
ARM Mali OpenGL ES Emulator
Simulates the OpenGL ES APIs by using the OpenGL APIs of the graphics card on the host.

In Figure 8-1 Generic Graphics Accelerator design, the buffer inside the target covers both the usual buffer to implement OpenGL ES APIs and the frame buffer as the rendering target.


The basic workflow is as follows:

  1. An application running on the Fast Models target makes an OpenGL ES API call.
  2. The Shim Layer receives the OpenGL ES API call and informs the Sidechannel Plugin that it needs to send data to the host.
  3. The Shim Layer writes the data into the Write Buffer inside the Sidechannel Plugin when a software interrupt is invoked in the Fast Model.
  4. The Reconciler wakes up after the buffer writing is complete.
  5. The Reconciler passes the data to the ARM Mali Open GL ES Emulator on the host and waits until the API call is completed.
  6. The Reconciler writes the output back to the Read Buffer of the Sidechannel Plugin.
  7. The Shim Layer sends another software interrupt to read the data from the Read Buffer when the application needs the data returned from the API.
  8. The Sidechannel Plugin reads the data from the read buffer and returns directly from the interrupt.
  9. The application continues to run on the target.
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