Heterogeneous computing 'one step closer', says Foundation

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The Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation has released version 1.0 of the HSA specification, a move which it says brings the industry 'one step closer' to true heterogeneous computing on a range of platforms.

HSA, a standardised platform design supported by more than 40 companies and 17 universities, is said to unlock the performance and power efficiency of parallel computing engines. It allows developers to apply the hardware resources in complex SoCs efficiently.

"Through HSA, we are working to ensure that end users of technology live in a world of new, incredible applications that run fast at low power," said HSA Foundation president Phil Rogers. "The members have been collaborating on this project since June 2012 and we are thrilled to be delivering the fruit of that labour."

The specification comprises a number of elements that improve the programmability of heterogeneous processors, the portability of programming code and interoperability across different vendor devices. These include:

  • the HSA System Architecture Specification, which defines how the hardware operates;
  • the HSA Programmers Reference Manual, which targets the software ecosystem, tool and compiler developers; and
  • the HSA Runtime Specification, which defines how applications interact with HSA platforms.

Jem Davies, vp of technology with ARM's media processing group, added: "Heterogeneous computing is playing an increasing role in system design. HSA systems will enable energy efficient interoperation between multiple processor types to take full advantage of next generation SoCs."