Setting Up TensorFlow With OpenCL Using SYCL

30 March 2017

This blog post is out of date, a guide to using TensorFlow with ComputeCpp is available on our website here that explains how to get set up and start using SYCL.


This short post aims to guide through set-up process for TensorFlow with OpenCL support. It’s a “copy-paste” type of post. There is nothing ground breaking in it, all the instructions can be found across other websites / forums.

The aim was to put all relevant information in one place which should make it more convenient/easier to go through the set-up process.


  • ComputeCpp CE 0.1.2
  • Python 2.7
  • Ubuntu 14.04.05 LTS Headless Server
  • AMD R9 Nano GPU


The assumption is that you have a vanilla server with 14.04.05 LTS Ubuntu64 installed.

Install Ubuntu kernel 3.19.0-79-generic using:

$ sudo apt-get install linux-image-3.19.0-79-generic linux-image-extra-3.19.0-79-generic linux-headers-3.19.0-79-generic
$ sudo apt-get remove linux-image-4.2.0-42-generic
$ sudo update-grub
$ sudo reboot

Install Git, LLVM and Build Essential using:

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential git llvm

Install JDK8 & Bazel using:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install oracle-java8-installer
$ echo "deb [arch=amd64] stable jdk1.8" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/bazel.list
$ curl | sudo apt-key add -
$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install bazel
$ sudo apt-get upgrade bazel

Install the AMD OpenCL 1.2 headers using:

$ sudo apt-get install ocl-icd-opencl-dev opencl-headers
$ wget --referer=
$ wget --referer=
$ sudo dpkg -i fglrx-core_15.302-0ubuntu1_amd64_ub_14.01.deb fglrx_15.302-0ubuntu1_amd64_ub_14.01.deb
$ sudo adduser $(whoami) video
$ sudo reboot

Install ComputeCpp CE 0.1.2:

Visit, register and download Ubuntu 14.04 release, unzip and copy the content – bin, include and lib are essential – to /usr/local/computecpp ( you will need sudo to do it )

Install Numpty using:

$ sudo apt-get install python-numpy python-dev python-wheel python-mock python-psutil
$ sudo pip install --upgrade pip
$ sudo pip install py-cpuinfo portpicker numpy
$ sudo pip install --upgrade scipy

Set up

$ export TF_NEED_OPENCL=1
$ export HOST_CXX_COMPILER=/usr/bin/g++-4.8
$ export HOST_C_COMPILER=/usr/bin/gcc-4.8
$ export COMPUTECPP_TOOLKIT_PATH=/usr/local/computecpp
$ export COMPUTE=:0

You might consider adding the above to the ~/.bashrc and apply them to the current terminal session by:

$ . ~/.bashrc


At this point you should be able to verify your set up.

$ clinfo

Should have returned something along these lines:

Number of platforms: 1
Platform Profile: FULL_PROFILE
Platform Version: OpenCL 2.0 AMD-APP (1912.5)
Platform Name: AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing
Platform Vendor: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Platform Extensions: cl_khr_icd cl_amd_event_callback cl_amd_offline_devices

Platform Name: AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing
Number of devices: 2
Device Vendor ID: 1002h
Board name:
Device Topology: PCI[ B#1, D#0, F#0 ]
Max compute units: 64
Max work items dimensions: 3
Max work items[0]: 256
Max work items[1]: 256
Max work items[2]: 256
Max work group size: 256
Preferred vector width char: 4
Preferred vector width short: 2
Preferred vector width int: 1
Preferred vector width long: 1
Preferred vector width float: 1
Preferred vector width double: 1
Native vector width char: 4
Native vector width short: 2
Native vector width int: 1
Native vector width long: 1
Native vector width float: 1
Native vector width double: 1
Max clock frequency: 1000Mhz
Address bits: 64
Max memory allocation: 3002336256
Image support: Yes
Max number of images read arguments: 128
Max number of images write arguments: 64
Max image 2D width: 16384
Max image 2D height: 16384
Max image 3D width: 2048
Max image 3D height: 2048
Max image 3D depth: 2048
Max samplers within kernel: 16
Max size of kernel argument: 1024
Alignment (bits) of base address: 2048
Minimum alignment (bytes) for any dataSingle precision floating point capability
Denorms: No
Quiet NaNs: Yes
Round to nearest even: Yes
Round to zero: Yes
Round to +ve and infinity: Yes
IEEE754-2008 fused multiply-add: Yes
Cache Cache line size: 64
Cache size: 16384
Global memory size: 4242251136
Constant buffer size: 65536
Max number of constant args: 8
Local memory Local memory size: 32768
Max pipe arguments: 16
Max pipe active reservations: 16
Max pipe packet size: 3002336256
Max global variable size: 2702102528
Max global variable preferred total size: 4242251136
Max read/write image args: 64
Max on device events: 1024
Queue on device max size: 8388608
Max on device queues: 1
Queue on device preferred size: 262144
SVM capabilities:
Coarse grain buffer: Yes
Fine grain buffer: Yes
Fine grain system: No
Atomics: No
Preferred platform atomic alignment: 0
Preferred global atomic alignment: 0
Preferred local atomic alignment: 0
Kernel Preferred work group size multiple: 64
Error correction support: 0
Unified memory for Host and Device: 0
Profiling timer resolution: 1
Device endianess: Little
Available: Yes
Compiler available: Yes
Execution capabilities:
Execute OpenCL kernels: Yes
Execute native function: No
Queue on Host properties:
Out-of-Order: No
Profiling : Yes
Queue on Device properties:
Out-of-Order: Yes
Profiling : Yes
Platform ID: 0x7f8a310c4a18
Name: Fiji
Vendor: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Device OpenCL C version: OpenCL C 2.0
Driver version: 1912.5 (VM)
Version: OpenCL 2.0 AMD-APP (1912.5)
Extensions: cl_khr_fp64 cl_amd_fp64 cl_khr_global_int32_base_atomics cl_khr_global_int32_extended_atomics cl_khr_local_int32_base_atomics cl_khr_local_int32_extended_atomics cl_khr_int64_base_atomics cl_khr_int64_extended_atomics cl_khr_3d_image_writes cl_khr_byte_addressable_store cl_khr_gl_sharing cl_khr_gl_depth_images cl_ext_atomic_counters_32 cl_amd_device_attribute_query cl_amd_vec3 cl_amd_printf cl_amd_media_ops cl_amd_media_ops2 cl_amd_popcnt cl_khr_image2d_from_buffer cl_khr_spir cl_khr_subgroups cl_khr_gl_event cl_khr_depth_images cl_khr_mipmap_image cl_khr_mipmap_image_writes


The above output means that there is an OpenCL platform with devices – GPU (The R9 Nano) and the CPU (most likely) available

Call computecpp_info which is located in the bin folder of the ComputeCpp installation:

$ /usr/local/computecpp/bin/computecpp_info

The output should look something like thisL


ComputeCpp Info (CE 0.1.2)


Toolchain information:

GLIBCXX: 20150426
This version of libstdc++ is supported.


Device Info:

Discovered 2 devices matching:
platform :
device type :

Device 0:

Device is supported : YES - Tested internally by Codeplay Software Ltd.
CL_DEVICE_VENDOR : Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Device 1:

Device is supported : YES - Tested internally by Codeplay Software Ltd.
CL_DEVICE_NAME : Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2600K CPU @ 3.40GHz
CL_DEVICE_VENDOR : Intel(R) Corporation

At this point, we have verified that we have SYCL 1.2/OpenCL 1.2 supported device(s) available in our system.


Finally, lets get TensorFlow, there are three places worth consideration:

Official upstream (stable branch):

$ git clone

Development branch – Benoit Steiner fork OpenCL hub:

$ git clone

Experimental branch – Mine for high pace experimental:

$ git clone
$ cd tensorflow-opencl
$ ./configure

Configure is an interactive bash script that sets-up environment for TensorFlow.

If you exported the variables mentioned in “Set Up” section you should be able to press enter for all the options. Otherwise you will have to answer few questions:

Please specify the location of python. [Default is /usr/bin/python]:
Do you wish to build TensorFlow with Google Cloud Platform support? [y/N]
No Google Cloud Platform support will be enabled for TensorFlow
Do you wish to build TensorFlow with Hadoop File System support? [y/N]
No Hadoop File System support will be enabled for TensorFlow
Found possible Python library paths:
Please input the desired Python library path to use. Default is [/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages]
Using python library path: /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages
Do you wish to build TensorFlow with OpenCL support? [y/N] y
OpenCL support will be enabled for TensorFlow
Do you wish to build TensorFlow with CUDA support? [y/N]
No CUDA support will be enabled for TensorFlow
Please specify which C++ compiler should be used as the host C++ compiler. [Default is /usr/bin/clang++-3.6 ]: /usr/bin/clang++-3.6
Please specify which C compiler should be used as the host C compiler. [Default is /usr/bin/clang-3.6 ]: /usr/bin/clang-3.6
Please specify the location where ComputeCpp for SYCL 1.2 is installed. [Default is /usr/local/computecpp]:

After that is finished you can either run TensorFlow testsuite (recommended):

$ bazel test --config=sycl -k --test_timeout 1600 -- //tensorflow/... -//tensorflow/contrib/... -//tensorflow/java/... -//tensorflow/compiler/...

or, build pip package (pip package):

$ bazel build --local_resources 2048,.5,1.0 -c opt --config=sycl //tensorflow/tools/pip_package:build_pip_package
$ mkdir _python_build
$ cd _python_build
$ ln -s ../bazel-bin/tensorflow/tools/pip_package/build_pip_package.runfiles/org_tensorflow/* .
$ ln -s ../tensorflow/tools/pip_package/* .

Keep in mind OpenCL support at this point is experimental and at an early stage in development.

Next Steps

TensorFlow introduction:
OpenCL support status:

Codeplay Software Ltd has published this article only as an opinion piece. Although every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in this post is accurate and reliable, Codeplay cannot and does not guarantee the accuracy, validity or completeness of this information. The information contained within this blog is provided "as is" without any representations or warranties, expressed or implied. Codeplay Sofware Ltd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information in this post.
Luke Iwanski's Avatar

Luke Iwanski

Staff Software Engineer, Compute & Graphics