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OpenCL vs: Accelerated finite-difference digital synthesis

Renney, Harri; Gaster, Benedict R.; Mitchell, Tom

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Benedict Gaster
Associate Professor in Physical Computing

Tom Mitchell
Professor of Audio and Music Interaction


© 2019 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to ACM. Digital audio synthesis has become an important component of modern music production with techniques that can produce realistic simulations of real instruments. Physical modelling sound synthesis is a category of audio synthesis that uses mathematical models to emulate the physical phenomena of acoustic musical instruments including drum membranes, air columns and strings. The synthesis of physical phenomena can be expressed as discrete variants of Newton’s laws of motion, using, for example, the Finite-Difference Time-Domain method or FDTD. FDTD is notoriously computationally expensive and the real time demands of sound synthesis in a live setting has led implementers to consider offloading to GPUs. In this paper we present multiple OpenCL implementations of FDTD for real time simulation of a drum membrane. Additionally, we compare against an AVX optimized CPU implementation and an OpenGL version that utilizes a careful mapping to the GPU texture cache. We find using a discrete, laptop class, AMD GPU that for all but the smallest mesh sizes, the OpenCL implementation out performs the others. Although, to our surprise we found that optimizing for workgroup local memory provided only a small performance benefit.


Renney, H., Gaster, B. R., & Mitchell, T. (2019). OpenCL vs: Accelerated finite-difference digital synthesis. .

Conference Name ACM International Conference Proceeding Series
Conference Location NorthEastern University, Boston, USA
Start Date May 12, 2019
End Date May 14, 2019
Acceptance Date May 14, 2019
Publication Date May 13, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 8, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 8, 2019
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
ISBN 978-1-4503-6230-6
Keywords parallel programming, GPGPU, OpenCL, physical modeling, audio
Public URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : IWOCL'19 - 7th International Workshop on OpenCL


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