The first details about the next version of DirectX are popping up. Custom PC claims Microsoft is considering to incorporate a new "compute shader" feature in DX11.
Compute Shader will allow game developers to access all the horsepower of a GPU, without working through a graphics API:
So why would you need this in DirectX? Our source gave the example of trying to ride a bike like a car, saying: ‘You don’t climb on to a bicycle and expect a steering wheel and three pedals – brake, accelerator and clutch – just because I’m used to that in the car. I want to solve a different problem, so I’ll address it with a different UI. From a games programmer’s point of view, what they’re looking for is a compute shader that's generic enough to use across multiple pieces of hardware. You can just get at the horsepower and get number crunching done on the GPU.’
There are many possibilities for such a shader, but our source reckons that it will be ‘the more likely route that games developers will go down for physics.’ However, they also rightly pointed out that the new API would be ‘at least two years away,’ and that none of this had been made public knowledge yet.