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Chip giants unite to form HSA Foundation

Posted: 13 Jun 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:heterogeneous computing  CPU  GPU  x86 

AMD, ARM, Imagination, Texas Instruments and MediaTek have announced the formation of

the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation.

As a non-profit consortium, the HSA Foundation has been established to define and promote an open, standards-based approach to heterogeneous computing that will provide a common hardware specification and support to make it easier for software developers to take multi-processing advantage of modern complex processors.

The companies used the AMD Fusion Developer Summit being held in Bellevue, Washington, as a platform to announce their latest development. The development fits in with the announcement made at the same event one year ago that AMD's Fusion chip architecture would be agnostic to the types CPU and GPU cores used for its implementation.

The five founding companies – which have expertise in x86 and ARM CPUs and PowerVR and Mali GPU cores amongst others – have pledged to work together to drive a single architecture specification that will simplify the programming model to help software developers take greater advantage of the capabilities found in the multiple CPU and GPU cores integrated in chips and unlock the performance and power efficiency of the parallel computing engines found in heterogeneous processors.

The heterogeneous processor market, also known as the hybrid processor market, is reckoned to be worth Rs.2.91 lakh crore ($55.5 billion) and has particular relevance in such areas as cloud-based data management, streaming, and security.

"HSA Foundation is a non-profit, open standards body for HSA platforms that will own the develpment of the architecture going forward," AMD Corporate Fellow Phil Rogers told an audience at the AMD Fusion Developers Summit in Bellevue, Wash.

Rogers, who is also now president of the HSA Foundation, said AMD made significant progress on HSA since last year, when it announced it would open up what was at the time known as Fusion System Architecture and try to build an industry-wide ecosystem around it. "Today, I am really pleased to report that HSA has become a reality," Rogers said. "It's now the shared industry's vision for the future of computing."

The HSA is open to any and all computing industry professionals including semiconductor companies, platform and OS vendors, device manufacturers, independent software vendors, academia and open source developers. The foundation expects to deliver developer tools, software developer kits (SDKs), libraries, documentation, training and support.

"We deliberatley structured it so it can be open fo everyone and everyone can find thier appropriate level of cause and effect," Rogers said.

- Peter Clarke
  EE Times

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