AMD, ARM, Imagination, MediaTek and TI Establish Heterogeneous System Architecture Foundation

System-on-Chip Companies Form Heterogeneous Computing Industrial Alliance

by Anton Shilov
06/12/2012 | 08:16 PM

At the AMD Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS), AMD, ARM, Imagination Technologies, MediaTek and Texas Instruments announced formation of the  Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) foundation. The HSA 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.


The companies will work together to drive a single architecture specification and simplify the programming model to help software developers take greater advantage of the capabilities found in modern central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs), and unlock the performance and power efficiency of the parallel computing engines found in heterogeneous processors. Initially the founding members, all of which develop various system-on-chip devices, plan to ensure that all of the forthcoming devices support such open standards as OpenCL, Renderscript Compute and Direct Compute and that independent software vendors have access to tools that exploit those standards.

“HSA moves the industry beyond the constraints of the legacy system architecture of the past 25-plus years that is now stifling software innovations. By aiming HSA squarely at the needs of the software developer, we have designed a common hardware platform for high performance, energy efficient solutions. HSA is unlocking a new realm of possibilities across PCs, smartphones, tablets and ultrathin notebooks, as well as the innovative supercomputers and cloud services that define the modern computing experience,” said Phil Rogers, HSA foundation president and AMD corporate fellow.

By standardizing the heterogeneous programming model, software developers can more easily and cost-effectively develop new programs tailored to take advantage of the expanding $55.5 billion heterogeneous (also known as “hybrid”) processor market. As an independent consortium, the HSA Foundation is open to any and all computing industry professionals with an interest in driving the next era in computing performance and energy efficiency. In fact, HSA will need severa; more key members - Intel Corp., Nvidia Corp. and Qualcomm - to ensure that all programs written for hybrid processors can be accelerated on all types of hardware, which will ensure that the new programming model is actually the future of computing.

Members of the HSA Foundation plan to deliver robust development solutions for heterogeneous compute to drive innovative content and applications with developer tools, software developer kits (SDKs), libraries, documentation, training, support and more.

“One year ago, AMD boldly announced a roadmap for making HSA a reality, starting with combining the CPU and GPU as a unified processing engine to create an architecture that would greatly simplify the programming of heterogeneous platforms.. Today, we are continuing our heterogeneous computing leadership and dedication to driving broad industry adoption by making the HSA architecture an open standard,” said Manju Hegde, corporate vice president of heterogeneous applications and developer solutions for AMD.