Vulkan is a new low-level API that developers can use to access the GPU. This can be used instead of OpenGL or Direct3D. It is essentially the successor to OpenGL as the standard is created by the Khronos Group, a standards organization. Khronos created Vulkan to be an open standard royalty-free.
Developers are able to take advantage of Vulkan’s reduced CPU overhead and efficient performance with games, applications, and mobile. Version 1.0 of the specification was released today and the first Vulkan SDK, LunarG, was also released for Windows and Linux.
Vulkan is available on multiple versions of Microsoft Windows from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and has been adopted as a native rendering and compute API by platforms including Linux, SteamOS, Tizen and Android.
AMD, ARM, Intel, NVIDIA, and other industry pillars have been quick to adopt the standard. NVIDIA offers beta support for Vulkan in Windows driver version 356.39 and Linux driver version 355.00.26. AMD similarly offers beta support for Vulkan with beta drivers for Windows 7 – Windows 10.
More can be found out about Vulkan from www.khronos.org/vulkan/ You can see the Khronos press release on Vulkan 1.0 specification here.