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The OpenGL Performance Characterization Project Group Rules

Version 1.6

Last Updated: 1/23/2003

  1. Overview
    1. General Philosophy
      1. The OpenGL Performance Characterization Project of SPEC/GPC (henceforth abbreviated as SPECopcSM) believes the user community will benefit from an objective series of tests, which can serve as common reference and be considered as part of an evaluation process.
      2. The SPECopc seeks to develop benchmarks for generating accurate OpenGL performance measures in an open, accessible and well-publicized manner.
      3. The SPECopc wishes to contribute to the coherence of the field of OpenGL performance measurement and evaluation so that vendors will be better able to present well-defined performance measures; and customers will be better able to compare and evaluate vendors' products and environments.
      4. The SPECopc will provide formal beta software to members and final software releases to the public in a timely fashion.
      5. Hardware and software used to run the SPECopc benchmarks must provide a suitable environment for running typical OpenGL programs.
      6. SPECopc reserves the right to adapt its benchmarks as it deems necessary to preserve its goal of fair and useful benchmarking (e.g. remove benchmark, modify benchmark code or data, etc). If a change is made to the suite, SPECopc will notify the appropriate parties (i.e. SPECopc members and users of the benchmark) and SPECopc will re-designate the metrics (e.g. changing the metric from DRV-04 composite to DRV-05 composite). In the case that a benchmark is removed in whole or in part, SPECopc reserves the right to republish in summary form "adapted" results for previously published systems, converted to the new metric. In the case of other changes, such a republication may necessitate re-testing and may require support from the original test sponsor.
    2. Overview of Optimizations
      1. SPECopc is aware of the importance of optimizations in producing the best system performance. SPECopc is also aware that it is sometimes hard to draw an exact line between legitimate optimizations that happen to benefit SPECopc benchmarks and optimizations that specifically target SPECopc benchmarks. However, with the list below, SPECopc wants to increase awareness of implementers and end-users to issues of unwanted benchmark-specific optimizations that would be incompatible with OPC's goal of fair benchmarking.
      2. To ensure that results are relevant to end-users, SPECopc expects that the hardware and software implementations used for running SPECopc benchmarks adhere to a set of general rules for optimizations.
    3. General Rules for Optimization
      1. Optimizations must generate correct images for a class of programs, where the class of programs must be larger than a single SPECopc benchmark or SPECopc benchmark suite. Correct images are those deemed by the majority of the SPECopc electorate to be sufficiently adherent to the OpenGL specification for the targeted end-user community (e.g. users of OpenGL on PDAs would have lower quality expectations than those using high-end workstations).
      2. Optimizations must improve performance for a class of programs where the class of programs must be larger than a single SPECopc benchmark or SPECopc benchmark suite and applicable to at least one end user application. For any given optimization a system must generate correct images with and without said optimization. An optimization must not reduce system stability.
      3. The vendor encourages the implementation for general use (not just for running a single SPECopc benchmark or SPECopc benchmark suite). As an indicator that the implementation is suitable for general use, graphics configurations submitted for the SPECopc benchmark suite must be able to run the corresponding SPECapc application benchmarks if applicable.
      4. The implementation is generally available, documented and supported by the providing vendor.
      5. It is expected that vendors would endorse the general use of these optimizations by customers who seek to achieve good application performance.
      6. No pre-computed (e.g. driver cached) images, geometric data, or OpenGL state may be substituted within an SPECopc benchmark on the basis of detecting that said benchmark is running (e.g. pattern matching of command stream or recognition of benchmark's name).
      7. Every OpenGL implementation in both immediate and display list mode must fully process every GL element presented to it that will impact the frame buffer and GL state.
      8. Differences to the frame buffer between immediate and display list modes must not exceed 0.01% of the number of pixels in the window.
      9. In the case where it appears the guidelines in this document have not been followed, SPECopc may investigate such a claim and request that the optimization in question (e.g. one using SPECopc benchmark-specific pattern matching) be removed and the results resubmitted. Or, SPECopc may request that the vendor correct the deficiency (e.g. make the optimization more general purpose or correct problems with image generation) before submitting results based on the optimization.

  2. Membership
    1. Membership
      1. Membership in the SPECopc is open to any organization that has a direct and/or material interest in OpenGL graphics performance benchmarking.
      2. Members are expected but not required to be active participants developing and improving SPECopc benchmarks.
      3. Members are entitled to secure access to development code.
      4. Members are entitled to unlimited publication rights.
      5. New members become eligible for voting on the 2nd consecutive qualified meeting. The first qualified meeting may have been attended prior to becoming a member. Qualified meetings are defined in Section 2.04(b).
      6. A member maintains voting rights by attending 1 out of the last 3 qualified meetings. A member loses their voting rights upon missing 3 consecutive qualified meetings.
      7. A member regains voting rights on attending a second consecutive qualified meeting.
    2. Associate Status
      1. Associate status is available to non-profit organizations.
      2. All SPECopc, GPC and SPEC Rules and Rights apply to Associates unless specifically stated otherwise.
      3. Associates are entitled to secure access to development code.
      4. Associates do not have voting rights.
    3. Officers and Elections
      1. On an annual basis the SPECopc will elect from its membership the following officers:
        1. Chairperson
        2. Vice Chairperson
        3. Secretary-Treasurer
      2. The Chairperson's responsibilities are to
        1. conduct meetings,
        2. send out the agenda on time,
        3. conduct votes on time,
        4. deal with outside organizations such as the press,
        5. police the submission, review and appeal processes.
      3. The Vice-Chairperson's responsibility is to do the chairman's job when the chairman is not available.
      4. The Secretary-Treasurer responsibilities are to:
        1. record minutes,
        2. maintain the rules document,
        3. keeps a history of email,
        4. track finances and interact with the GPC and SPEC Board in that regard.
    4. Meetings
      1. The SPECopc has three types of meetings (not including sub-committee meetings)
        1. Regular quarterly face to face meetings
        2. Special SPECopc face to face meetings for the full membership
        3. Conference Call meetings
      2. SPECopc meetings which qualify for attendance are limited to:
        1. face to face meetings scheduled one month in advance and
        2. conference calls scheduled two weeks in advance.
    5. Membership Dues and Billing
      1. Dues for the SPECopc will be set annually by the SPEC Board of Directors with input from the SPECopc. Once set, the dues amount will be recorded in the SPEC minutes and communicated to the SPECopc by the SPEC office.
      2. Dues payment, purchase order, or letter of intent must be received at the SPEC office in time for the January annual meeting. Dues must be paid by the end of February. Failure to meet these deadlines will result in loss of membership and voting rights which will be reinstated when full payment is received at the SPEC office.
    6. Non-Member Publication
      1. The SPECopc will accept submissions from non-members for review and publication on the SPEC public website.
      2. Non-member submissions must follow the same procedures as member submissions.
      3. Non-members are not eligible to participate in reviewing results.
      4. Non-members will be charged per system configuration for their submissions. Any change in hardware or software constitutes a new configuration.
      5. On an annual basis the SPECopc will establish the pricing for non-member publication. The amounts will be recorded in the SPECopc minutes.
      6. A configuration will be published on-line for one year, unless the submitter notifies the publisher that it should be removed.
      7. After one year, the configuration will be removed automatically, unless the submitter notifies the publisher that it should remain on-line.
      8. There are no additional non-member fees for extending on-line publication beyond one year.
      9. The SPECopc project group may remove published results due to benchmark revision. In this case, the submitter will be given notice by the project group and may, at no charge, resubmit the identical configuration for the revised benchmark.

  3. Benchmarks
    1. Benchmark Acceptance
      1. Benchmark components are defined as
        1. code sets (e.g. SPECviewperf, SPECglperf),
        2. run rules, scripts and associated data sets (e.g. viewsets or SPECglperf script).
      2. New or modified benchmark components require a 2/3-majority vote of the SPECopc electorate to be accepted for publication.
      3. A minimum 3-week review period is required for new or significantly modified benchmark components.
      4. At the end of the review period a vote will be called to approve the proposed changes.
      5. An amendment to a benchmark component during the review period must be unanimously accepted. If not, the review period shall be restarted.
      6. It is the option of any future SPECviewperf Viewset author(s) to require passing of selected conformance tests prior to submission of results for that viewset.
    2. Benchmark Code Versioning
      1. Benchmark code is defined as the set of source code required to build and run a benchmark executable (e.g. SPECviewperf and SPECglperf).
      2. SPECglperf Benchmark code uses the following version coding: M.m.p (e.g. 3.1.2) M is the major release number, m is the minor release number and p is the patch level.
        1. The major release number is only incremented when large amounts of code are changed and the scripting language is dramatically changed as a result -- backward compatibility is highly unlikely when moving scripts or data sets between major releases (e.g. running v2 scripts on a v3 executable would almost certainly fail).
        2. The minor release number is bumped if some small set of code is replaced or removed - but the standard, unchanged scripts and data sets, as a whole, must run on the new version (but perhaps with different performance).
        3. Patch releases can contain additions of new properties and additions of new attributes to existing properties, but cannot change or remove any existing properties, attributes or functionality. These are typically used for bug fixes, small enhancements and so forth.
    3. SPECviewperf Viewset Versioning
      1. The version of a SPECviewperf viewset should be incremented if:
        1. changes to SPECviewperf affect the performance of the viewset,
        2. or changes to the Viewset script affect performance,
        3. or if the viewset data changes,
        4. or if rule changes affect the acceptance criteria.
      2. New results for the previous version of a Viewset will no longer be published.
    4. SPECglperf Script Versioning
      1. The version of a SPECglperf script should be incremented if:
        1. changes to SPECglperf affect the performance of the script,
        2. or changes to the SPECglperf script can affect performance,
        3. or if rule changes affect the acceptance criteria.

  4. Benchmark Run Rules
    1. Benchmark Run Rules
      1. The system under test must perform all of the OpenGL functionality requested by the benchmark with the exception that the system does not have to support dithering.
      2. The systems under test must be OpenGL Conformant for the pixel format or visual used by the benchmark.
      3. Settings for environment variables, registry variables and hints must not disable compliant behavior.
      4. No interaction is allowed with the system under test during the benchmark, unless required by the benchmark.
      5. The system under test can not skip frames during the benchmark run.
      6. It is not permissible to change the system configuration during the running of a given benchmark. For example, one can not power off the system, make some changes, then power back on and run the rest of the benchmark.
      7. Screen grabs for SPECviewperf will be full window size.
      8. The monitor must support the stated resolution and refresh rate and must fully display all of the benchmark tests being submitted.
      9. Results to be made public must be run by official scripts that may not be changed, with the following exceptions (which must be documented if not the default):
        1. In SPECviewperf:
          1. specific selection of visual/pixel format on a per-test basis
          2. the multithreading flag (-th) on approved multi-threading viewsets
        2. Visual/pixel format required:
          1. May be selected on a per-test basis by submission of the viewset script.
          2. If RGB visual/pixel format is requested, it must have at least eight bits of red, eight bits of green and eight bits of blue.
          3. If destination alpha is requested, it must have at least 1 bit.
          4. If depth buffer is requested, it must have at least 16 bits of resolution.
      10. Screen resolution must be large enough to run the individual tests at their requested window size, with no reduction or clipping of test window.
      11. Tests may be run with or without a desktop/window manager, but must be run on some native windowing system.

  5. Submission and Review Rules
    1. Submission Preparation Rules
      1. The rules for the submission and review cycle to be used are those posted on the SPECopc web site two weeks prior to the submission deadline.
      2. The benchmark versions to be used for a submission are those posted on the SPECopc web site two weeks prior to the submission deadline.
      3. All benchmark sources for a submission must be the same as that posted on the SPECopc web site two weeks prior to the submission deadline.
      4. Members who wish not to review the submission of other specific members due to conflict of interest must submit that list to the SPEC office prior to the submission deadline. The SPEC office will hold the list in confidence from other members.
    2. Submission Content Rules
      1. The information supplied must reflect the system as tested.
      2. All fields in the configuration description file must be supplied.
      3. A date must be supplied for 'General Availability' that is accurate for the entire system - hardware, software, O/S, drivers, etc.
      4. If the system as tested is not available from the submitter through the normal ordering process, the "Comments" area of the results page must describe how the system may be acquired.
      5. Date fields must always contain a valid date. "Now" is not valid in a date field.
      6. A SPECviewperf submission can be for one or more viewsets per configuration.
      7. Price includes system and monitor as tested.
      8. The color depth used must be at least 24 bits (true color).
      9. The display raster resolution must be at least 1280 pixels by 1024 pixels.
      10. The monitor refresh rate must be at least 75Hz. This requirement does not apply to digital flat panel displays.
      11. Alternate currency from the US dollar can be submitted as price and the submission will be sorted separately on the summary pages for Price and Price/Performance.
      12. The submitter is required to declare sufficient information to reproduce the performance claimed. This includes but is not limited to:
        1. non-default environment variables,
        2. non-default registry variables,
        3. hints,
        4. compiler name and version,
        5. compiler command line,
        6. changes to the standard makefiles.
      13. Any information required to be reported such as non-default environment variables, registry variables or hints, that does not have a predefined field must be documented in the "Comments" area of the results page.
      14. Valid submissions must include screen captures if required by the benchmark.
      15. The SPECviewperf binary must be submitted if it is not one of the standard binaries.
      16. Results previously published for a system can be resubmitted.
      17. Previously published results being re-submitted can only have price changes.
      18. The SPECviewperf submission upload file must have the structure defined in Figure 4.03-1.

Figure 4.03-1

      1. Each member company must ensure that the upload file contains data for all the new configurations and existing published configurations they wish to continue publishing.
      2. Standardized cache nomenclature are as follows:
        1. (D+I) is a Unified instruction and data cache
        2. (D/I) is a for separate instruction and data caches
        3. A number followed by KB or MB can be used to describe the size of the cache.
        4. Caches dedicated to a processor are listed as per processor cache size.
        5. Caches shared by multiple processors are listed by total size.
      3. Each component of the submitted software configuration (including the graphics driver) shall be:
        1. uniquely identified,
        2. available to SPECopc members, upon demand, by the submission deadline and for the duration of the review process,
        3. available to the public by the publication date, with continued availability at least through the next submission deadline.
      4. Subsequent to publication, replacing elements of a submitted configuration must not result in more than a 5% performance degradation in any of the submitted benchmark results. The submitted results for this configuration will be removed from the SPEC public website, if this requirement is not met.
      5. On or before the date of publication, the submitted configuration shall be available for purchase by the public, for the specified price or less, with a firm delivery date of 60 days or less.
    1. Submission Process Rules
      1. Each benchmark (SPECviewperf, etc.) is considered a separate submission.
      2. Submissions of each benchmark (SPECviewperf, etc.) must be in separate tar/zip files.
      3. The submission file names must contain opc_v for SPECviewperf and opc_g for SPECglperf, contain all lower case letters and not contain '.' except prior to the zip or tar file extension (e.g. The file version is denoted prior to the file extension. The initial file version is v0. Resubmitted files must increment the version number.
      4. A submitter of SPECopc benchmark results must upload their submission to the proper server location by the submission deadline date. The submitter must not create any new directories on the server when uploading their submission.
      5. The submitter must notify SPEC Office after a submission is uploaded to the server prior to the submission deadline with contact information for questions about the submission.
      6. The submitter must contact the SPEC office if they have attempted to upload their submission and were not successful.
      7. The SPEC office will not disclose who has submitted results until the submission deadline has passed.
      8. Submissions will not be accepted after the submission deadline.
      9. The upload directory will be set to write-only until the submission deadline has passed. Then it is set to read-write (not modify) after the submission deadline.
      10. If a submitter is notified that their submission format is incorrect, they must re-send their submission in proper format within 3 business days of notification.
      11. Abuse of the resubmission allowance is grounds for rejection of a submission.
    2. Review Period Rules
      1. SPECopc members must keep other members' submitted results SPECopc-confidential until they are publicly available.
      2. SPEC Office pairs reviewers to submitters.
      3. SPECviewperf review pools will be independent of each other. The SPEC office will send the list of contact information for the submissions under review.
      4. All members will have access to all benchmark submissions once the review period begins.
      5. The review period shall be 10 calendar days.
      6. Submissions cannot be withdrawn during the review process.
      7. If a primary reviewer has a question with a submission they must pose the question to the submitter first.
      8. Any reviewer who has questions with a submission must :
        1. Pose these questions to the submitter and cc the primary reviewer OR,
        2. Pose these questions to the primary reviewer. The primary reviewer must then pose these questions to the submitter OR,
        3. Pose these questions to an officer of the SPECopc. The officer of the SPECopc must then pose these questions to the submitter and cc the primary reviewer.
      9. The submitter can request that their submission be rejected on stated technical grounds.
      10. With public permission of the primary reviewer, a submitter may resubmit their submission. The submitter must notify the gpcopc mailing list with the date and version of the resubmitted file.
      11. The submitter must provide the primary reviewer access to the system under test at the submitter's facilities if requested by the reviewer during the review period. The reviewer must state prior to the visit what part of the submission is going to be verified. Travel expenses are the responsibility of the reviewer.
      12. Previously published results being re-submitted can only be reviewed for consistency with the previous submission, and price changes.
      13. Price can be challenged. If so, the submitter must provide documentation that the system can be purchased for the price quoted. Price must be valid for 90 days from date of publication. Quantity 1 pricing must be used.
      14. Reviewers will decide if the image quality of the submission is sufficiently adherent to the OpenGL specification to satisfy the intended end user's expectations. If a reviewer rejects the quality of an image for a stated reason, the submitter can ask for a vote of the full SPECopc electorate. In case of a tie the submission is rejected.
      15. System configurations submitted for the SPECopc benchmark suite must be able to run the corresponding SPECapc application benchmarks if applicable. If this criteria is not met the submission will be rejected.
      16. By the end of the review period, the primary reviewer of a submission must approve it without comment, approve it with comment, or reject it with comment. The submitter may appeal a rejection as described in Section 5.05.
      17. Comments for rejection of a submission received after the end of the review period will not delay publication of the submission.
    3. Review Appeal Rules
      1. The appeal period shall be 2 weeks, and immediately follow the review period.
      2. Any submitter of a rejected submission can make their case on the gpcopc email alias during the appeal period.
      3. At the end of the appeal period, if there is no resolution, the Chair shall call a vote to approve or reject the submission.
      4. The whole SPECopc electorate votes on approval or rejection of an appealed submission. A simple majority of the SPECopc electorate is required to approve or reject the appeal. In case of a tie the submission is rejected.
    4. Challenging Approved Results
      1. Any member may challenge approved results at any time. This includes:
        1. archived results,
        2. currently published results.
      2. The burden of proof that the result should be modified is on the member who is challenging the result.
      3. The challenge must be ratified by a majority vote of the committee.
      4. The Chair will call a special review cycle in the event that there is a ratified challenge to currently published results .
      5. A ratified challenge to archived results can only result in annotation, not removal or modification. The annotation will be determined by the majority of the committee.

  1. Publication Rules
    1. SPECopc Publication
      1. Benchmark results for publication by the SPECopc must adhere to Articles I, IV and V.
    2. Unofficial Publication
      1. Benchmark results for publication elsewhere (e.g. industry journals, vendor web sites, analyst reports) must adhere to Articles I and IV.
      2. The SPECopc or any SPECopc member reserves the right to request and receive evidence that the published results have been achieved in accordance with the rules and that published information is accurate.
      3. SPECopc metrics may be estimated. Metrics shall not be estimated for configurations that are capable of running the benchmark. All estimated metrics must be clearly identified as estimated. Licensees are encouraged to publish actual SPECopc metrics as soon as possible. Proper trademark usage for estimated results would be in the following forms:
        1. SPECviewperf Awadvs-04 estimated score of 30 fps

    SPECviewperf Awadvs-04 30 est.
    SPECviewperf Light-04 122 est.

  2. Adoption
    Adopted by the SPECopc on January 23, 2003.
    Changes for version 1.1 adopted
    June 10, 1999.
    Changes for version 1.2 adopted
    January 12, 2000.
    V1.4 changes -- 5.02 (d) added
    V1.5 changes -- 4.01.i.2(2), 4.01.i.2(4), 5.02.w
    V1.6 changes -- 1.03.c, 5.04.o