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Glossary

This glossary describes the terms used in Media Processing Division (MPD) documents from ARM Limited.

AEL

See ARM Embedded Linux.

ARM Embedded Linux (AEL)

A version of embedded Linux OS ported to the ARM architecture.

DCC

See Digital Content Creation.

DDK

See Mali DDK.

Digital Content Creation (DCC)

The creation and modification of custom content such as animations, graphics, textures, and images, before presentation in the final medium.

EGL

See Embedded-System Graphics Library.

EGL driver

See Native platform graphics interface.

Embedded-System Graphics Library (EGL)

A standardized set of functions that communicate between graphics software, such as OpenGL ES or OpenVG drivers, and the platform-specific windowing system that displays the image.

ESSL

See OpenGL ES Shading Language.

ESSL compiler

The compiler that translates shaders written in ESSL, into binary code for the shader units in the Mali GPU. There are two versions of the ESSL compiler:

  • the on-target compiler

  • the offline compiler.

Fixed-function pipeline

A process that uses standard functions to draw graphics on fixed-function graphics hardware, such as the Mali-55 GPU. The fixed-function pipeline is a requirement of OpenGL ES 1.1.

Fragment

A fragment consists of all data, such as depth, stencil, texture, and color information, required to generate a pixel in the framebuffer. A pixel is usually composed of several fragments. A fragment can be multi-sampled and super-sampled.

Fragment processor

A programmable component of the Mali GPU pixel processor, that runs fragment shaders.

Fragment shader

A program running on the Mali GPU pixel processor that calculates the color and other characteristics of each fragment.

Geometry processor

A geometry processor is a component of a programmable-function Mali GPU. It executes vertex shaders with typical transform and lightning calculations, and generates lists of primitives for a pixel processor to draw.

GPU

See Graphics Processor Unit.

Graphics application

A custom program that executes in the Mali graphics system and displays graphics content in a framebuffer for transfer to a display.

Graphics driver

A software library implementing OpenGL ES or OpenVG, using graphics accelerator hardware.

See Also OpenGL ES driver and OpenVG driver.

Graphics Processor Unit (GPU)

A hardware accelerator for graphics systems using OpenGL ES and OpenVG. The hardware accelerator comprises of an optional geometry processor and a pixel processor together with memory management. Mali programmable GPUs, such as the Mali-200 and Mali-400 MP GPUs, consist of a geometry processor and at least one pixel processor. Mali fixed-function GPUs, such as the Mali-55 GPU consist of a pixel processor only.

See Also Geometry Processor, Pixel Processor, Mali MMU.

Instrumented drivers

Alternative graphics drivers that are used with the Mali GPU. The Instrumented drivers include additional functionality such as error logging and recording performance data files for use by the Performance Analysis Tool.

See Also Mali DDK, Performance Analysis Tool.

Mali

The name given to graphics software and hardware products developed by ARM, that accelerates 2D and 3D graphic applications.

Mali Binary Asset

The proprietary file format that you can load onto the Mali Demo Engine and use on Mali GPUs. Mali Binary Asset is faster to parse, uses less memory, and is smaller in size than formats such as COLLADA XML. If a deployment format is not available, use the Mali Binary Assets Exporter to convert graphics assets into Mali Binary Asset.

Mali DDK

A set of drivers, typically for AEL, that enable communication between AEL and the Mali GPU. These drivers are available as normal or instrumented versions.

See Also Instrumented drivers.

Mali Demo Engine

The Mali Demo Engine is a component of the Mali Developer Tools. The Mali Demo Engine library enables you to develop 3D graphics applications more easily than using OpenGL ES alone.

Mali Demo Engine Library

A C++ class framework for developing OpenGL ES 2.0 applications for the Mali GPU.

Mali MMU

A full-featured Memory Management Unit (MMU) that is present on Mali GPUs such as the Mali-200 GPU and the Mali-400 MP GPU.

Mali Remote Interface

The Mali Remote Interface is a component of the Instrumented driver. This interface enables the Performance Analysis Tool tool to access performance data dump files over a network interface.

See Also Instrumented drivers, Performance data file.

Mali Surface

The destination for Mali GPU output. It can potentially be for color, depth and stencil, however, when referring to EGL surfaces, it only refers to color output buffers.

Multi-sampling

An anti-aliasing technique where each pixel in the framebuffer is split into multiple samples corresponding to different positions within the area covered by the pixel. The Mali GPU pixel processors support multi-sampling at four samples per pixel with negligible performance impact.

Native platform graphics interface (EGL) driver

A standardized set of functions that communicate between graphics software, such as OpenGL ES or OpenVG drivers, and the platform-specific window system that displays the image.

Offline Compiler

A command line tool that translates vertex shaders and fragment shaders written in the ESSL into binary vertex shaders and binary fragment shaders that you can link and run on the Mali GPU.

On-target compiler

A component of the Mali GPU OpenGL ES 2.0 driver that translates shader source files provided by the graphics application, into binary shader code, at runtime.

OpenGL ES driver

The OpenGL ES driver is part of a driver stack that translates OpenGL ES API commands into data and instructions for the Mali GPU. Only the device driver controls the Mali GPU directly.

OpenGL ES Shading Language (ESSL)

A programming language used to create custom shader programs that can be used within a programmable pipeline, on the Mali GPU. You can also use pre-defined library shaders, written in ESSL.

OpenVG driver

The OpenVG driver is part of a driver stack that translates OpenVG API commands into data and instructions for the Mali GPU. Only the device driver controls the Mali GPU directly.

Performance Analysis Tool

A fully-customizable GUI tool that displays and analyzes performance data files produced by the Instrumented drivers, together with framebuffer information.

See Also Instrumented drivers, Performance data file.

Performance counter

Data produced by the Instrumented drivers and the Mali GPU, that can be displayed and analyzed as statistical information in the Performance Analysis Tool.

Performance data file

Files that contain a description of the performance counters, together with the performance counter data in the form of a series of values and images. Performance data files are saved in .ds2 format and can be loaded directly into the Performance Analysis Tool.

Performance variable

Data produced by the Instrumented drivers and the Mali GPU, that can be displayed and analyzed as statistical information in the Performance Analysis Tool.

Pixel processor

A pixel processor, such as the Mali-200 GPU pixel processor, performs rendering operations to produce a final image for display. The Mali-200 and Mali-400 MP GPU pixel processors receive completed vertex data from the Mali GPU geometry processor.

Primitive

A basic element that is used, by the Mali GPU, with other primitives, to generate images. A primitive can be a point, a line, a triangle, or a quad. Properties of primitives are defined through the use of vertices. Each primitive is divided into fragments so that there is one fragment for each pixel covered by the primitive.

See Also Vertex.

Programmable pipeline

A process that uses custom programs to draw graphics on programmable graphics hardware, such as the Mali-200 and Mali-400 MP GPUs. The programmable pipeline is a requirement of OpenGL ES 2.0.

Rasterization

The process within the Mali GPU pixel processor that identifies the fragment of each triangle that is seen through each pixel on the display screen.

Rasterizer

A unit or method to convert a geometrical description of primitives supported by the Mali GPU: point, line, triangle, or quad, to fragments. The rasterizer works on line equations generated in the triangle setup phase of Mali GPU pixel processors.

Render

Rendering in the context of the Shader Debugger plug-in refers to the sending of shader effects to a remote Renderer, so that a preview image can be generated.

Renderer

A device capable of rendering shader effects and returning an image of the rendered shader. Typically, this is a device with a Mali GPU, though it can also be a local or remote emulation.

Render Target

See Mali Surface.

Shader

A Shader or Shader Source file, refers to a single source file for a shader effect. This source file might be a vertex shader, a fragment shader or a non-specific utility shader that can be linked concatenated and compiled with other shaders.

See Also Fragment shader, Vertex shader.

Texture Compression Tool

A component of the Mali Developer Tools that you can use to compress textures and images, using the ETC algorithm.

Vertex

A set of data defining the properties of one point of a primitive. For example, a point primitive, an endpoint of a line primitive, or a corner of a triangle primitive.

Vertex shader

Program vertex shader data sent to the Mali GPU geometry processor. The geometry processor calculates the position and other characteristics, such as color and texture coordinates, for each vertex.

Vertex shader unit

A programmable component of the Mali GPU geometry processor, that runs vertex shaders.

Vertices

This is the plural form of the word vertex.

See Also Vertex.

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