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C for Metal Development Package

The Intel® C for Metal development package is a software development package for Intel® Graphics Technology. It includes the Intel® C for Metal Compiler, the Intel® C for Metal Runtime, Intel® Media Driver for VAAPI, and reference examples, which can be used to develop applications accelerated by Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator. A typical application contains two kinds of source code, kernel and host. The kernel is written in Intel® C for Media language, compiled to GPU ISA binary by the Intel® C for Metal Compiler, and executed on the GPU. Host manages workloads through the Intel® C for Metal Runtime and user mode media driver.



Intel® C for Metal Development Package

Linux Package


The Intel® C for Metal Development Package is a software development package for Intel® Graphics Technology.


The Intel C for Metal Development Package is distributed under the MIT license. You may obtain a copy of the License at:


Ubuntu* 16.04 with Linux* kernel 4.10

For kernel versions other than 4.10, the full functionality can't be guaranteed.



Dependencies (Intel Components)

Intel® Media Driver for VAAPI Intel® C for Metal Runtime (included in Media Driver) Intel® C for Metal Compiler Intel® Graphics Compiler


Install the Intel C for Metal Development Package

Folder structure after installation

            ├── compiler
            │   ├── bin
            │   └── include_llvm
            ├── documents
            │   ├── cmrtlib
            │   └── compiler
            ├── drivers
            │   ├── media_driver
            │   │   ├── release
            │   │   └── release-internal
            │   └── IGC
            ├── examples
            ├── readme.txt
            └── runtime
                ├── include
                └── lib

Details of folder structure

compiler: the compiler binaries and libraries used to build CM language source codes to GPU kernels running on Render engine

compiler/bin: The front-end and offline back-end compiler binaries to build GPU kernels

compiler/include_llvm: The header files needed during compiling GPU kernels

runtime: the libraries and headers defines a set of CM APIs used by CPU applications, through which GPU kernels can be loaded onto render engine and be executed

runtime/include: The header files defining the CM APIs

runtime/lib: The libraries implementing the CM APIs

documents/compiler: The documents about the CM compiler usage and the CM language to write GPU kernels

documents/runtime: The documents about the CM APIs to load and execute GPU kernels

drivers: the media driver and IGC as low-level supported drivers to load and run GPU kernels. Release version means stripped driver binaries, while release-internal means driver binaries with symbols and other debugging functionalities, like results dumping.

examples: Each folder under examples is an example, including host source code xxx.cpp and kernel source code xxx_genx.cpp.

Install Both Intel Media Driver for VAAPI and Intel Graphics Compiler by Script

    cd drivers
    sudo ./

Install the Intel Media Driver for VAAPI Alone

Choose release or release-internal driver package

    dpkg -i

Note the following:

  1. This command needs to be run in privileged mode

  2. If it has this error “trying to overwrite xxx, which is also in package xxx”, it means you may have installed part of the libs before. Please add ‘--force-overwrite’ option in the installing command

  3. The libva and libdrm libraries and headers, needed by building and executing CM applications, will also be installed together with media driver.

  4. The media driver is now a open source project in You can also build from source to get the media driver libraries.

Install Intel Graphics Compiler Alone

Get the IGC package from drivers/IGC/

    dpkg -i IGC-xxx.deb

Note that this command needs to be run in privileged mode

Build and Execute

Layout of an Intel C for Metal application

Usually an Intel C for Metal application contains two parts: host code running on CPU and kernel code running on GPU. Take /examples/linear_walker as an example:

linear_walker.cpp is the host application source code. It is standard C++ source code calling the Intel C for Metal APIs to load the GPU kernels. It is compiled by g++ and executed on CPU.

linear_walker_genx.cpp is the GPU kernel source code. It is written using the Intel C for Metal language. It is compiled by the Intel C for Metal compiler, cmc in compiler/bin, and is loaded by the host application and executed on GPU.

Build an example using provided make file

Change directory to any subfolder in examples, e.g. examples/linear_walker, then run the make command: make -f ../Makefile.linux

Two binaries will be generated:

  1. hw_x64.linear_walker: the executable on CPU, generated from linear_walker.cpp

  2. linear_walker_genx.isa: the GPU kernel loaded by the CPU executable and executed on render engine on GPU, generated from linear_walker_genx.cpp

Run the host application code

Make sure both the host application binary and the GPU kernel binary are generated, and they are in the same directory.

Run the host application binary directly.

Build an example using command lines (advanced)

Use two command lines below to build host code

    g++ linear_walker.cpp -w -g -std=gnu++0x -c -rdynamic -fPIC -O0 -msse4.1 -ffloat-store -I"<package_root>/runtime/include" -o linear_walker.o
    g++ linear_walker.o -fPIC <package_root>/runtime/lib/x64/ -o linear_walker -lva -ldl -lva-drm -lpthread -m64

Use one command line below to build kernel code

    <package_root>/compiler/bin/cmc linear_walker_genx.cpp -isystem <package_root>/compiler/include

Build and run all the examples in the package

Before running, need to export driver name and path at first,
       export LIBVA_DRIVER_NAME=iHD
       export LIBVA_DRIVERS_PATH=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/dri

A shell script is provided to build and run all the examples in the examples folder:


Contribute To This Package

The source code of all the components in the package are maintained on github:

Intel Media Driver for VAAPI and Intel C for Metal Runtime:

Intel C for Metal compiler and examples:

Intel Graphics Compiler:

We welcome your contributions including bug fixes, optimizations, and new features. You may create a new pull request on github for your changes. We will review it, test it, and give you our feedback. When the change is finalized, we will push it to the project repository.

For any new example using CM, as long as you have the entire application that can be built and run on either Linux or Windows, you can email it to the maintainer of Intel C for Metal compiler. We can help you customize it, and publish it in our example folder.

Supported Platforms

Intel® microarchitecture code name Broadwell, Intel® microarchitecture code name Skylake, Apollo Lake, Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake, and Cannon Lake.

Known Issues and Limitations

(*) Other names and brands may be claimed as property of others.