AMD, ARM team up to push Heterogeneous Systems Architecture


— 2:27 PM on June 12, 2012

AFDS — A few months ago, we gave you the low-down on AMD's Heterogeneous Systems Architecture, or HSA for short: a development target platform for chips with integrated CPUs and GPUs and shared memory, like AMD's Fusion APUs. In February, when we last spoke to the company about the subject, AMD was hoping to turn HSA into an open, industry-wide standard. 

Left: AMD Corporate Fellow Phil Rogers. Right: ARM Fellow Jem Davies.

Fast-forward to this morning, and AMD seems to have gotten its wish. In partnership with ARM, Imagination Technologies, MediaTek, and Texas Instruments, AMD has created the HSA Foundation, a non-profit organization tasked with the evangelization and development of the Heterogeneous Systems Architecture. Or, in the words of AMD's announcement:

The HSA Foundation is a non-profit consortium established to define and promote an open, standards-based approach to heterogeneous computing that will provide a common hardware specification and broad support ecosystem to make it easier for software developers to deliver innovative applications that can take greater advantage of today's modern processors.

According to AMD, the HSA Foundation will also be tasked with bringing development tools, libraries, and operating-system runtimes to market. It will promote the HSA architecture through developer training and academic programs, as well. Through those activities, AMD hopes to make HSA "the platform of choice from smartphones to the cloud."

So far, AMD's contributions to the HSA Foundation include the draft HSA specs, an open-source execution stack and compiler, a standard template library, and initial funding. As we noted in February, AMD's roadmap calls for the progressive extension of the HSA standard with new features over the next couple of years.

There's no question that ARM jumping on board is a huge deal. At this morning's keynote, ARM Fellow Jem Davies asserted that HSA is a "natural fit for ARM" because it, like AMD, delivers integrated CPU and graphics architectures. Considering the humongous popularity of ARM-based solutions across everything from set-top boxes to tablets, ARM's participation has the potential to give the HSA Foundation tremendous momentum.

   
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