AMD has teamed up with Oracle to work on Project Sumatra, a bid by the OpenJDK community to explore how Java can be accelerated by graphics processors. The project will investigate adapting not only the Java virtual machine, but also the APIs and the language itself. Here's a snippet from the official press release:
“Affirming our plans to contribute to the OpenJDK Project represents the next step towards bringing heterogeneous computing to millions of Java developers and can potentially lead to future developments of new hardware models, as well as server and cloud programming paradigms,” said Manju Hegde, corporate vice president, Heterogeneous Applications and Developer Solutions at AMD. “AMD has an established track record of collaboration with open-software development communities from OpenCL™ to the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation, and with this initiative we will help further the development of graphics acceleration within the Java community.”
The Heterogeneous System Architecture is AMD's intiative to allow software to exploit the combined CPU and GPU resources offered by chips like its A-series APUs, and another big name signed on in support this week. Qualcomm has joined the HSA Foundation as a Founder member. At the end of August, the HSA group also welcomed Samsung into its Founder fold, which includes ARM, Imagination Technologies, MediaTek, and Texas Instruments. If the graphic on the HSA site is correct, only one Founder slot remains.
AMD has a distinct advantage over Intel in the graphics department. With GPU-accelerated applications few and far between, the payoff has been restricted largely to games. Through efforts like Project Sumatra, OpenCL, and HSA, AMD should be able to convince more developers to exploit the graphics horsepower of its APUs. Let's hope it doesn't take too long.