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AMD puts its weight behind Heterogeneous System Architecture

12 Jun 2012
AMD Fusion

AMD is spearheading an effort to better develop and maintain standards for general processing over GPU (GPGPU) programming.

The company is leading the creation of the HSA Foundation, a non-profit industry group aimed at standardising and maintaining platforms for the development of applications which use both CPU and GPU hardware of the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA).

Phil Rogers, an AMD corporate fellow, said that the aim of HSA would be to give developers a single platform for taking advantage of GPU hardware, without having to specify hardware particulars or re-write code for individual vendors.

"It allows a single, shared implementation where appropriate," he explained.

"There is no point in multiple vendors providing the same component and having it work in a different way."

AMD has previously released a number of developer tools for transferring popular languages such as Java to HSA. It now hopes that the foundation will help to further the platform not only as a high-performance computing effort, but also as a development tool for speeding up server and desktop computing tasks.

Among the founding members of the foundation are Texas Instruments, Imagination Technologies and ARM.

Jem Davies, ARM Fellow and vice president of media processing technology, said that it was particularly interested in the flexibility of the standard and its wide reach. With ARM's own products set to span from the mobile space to server platforms, Davies believes that the HSA Foundation is a natural fit for the company.

"The HSA has scalability built very much at its foundation in order to cross these gaps and it should enable people to develop code for these systems without knowledge of the intimate details of every single different architecture," Davies said.

"We can gain better reuse of code, and you developers can spend more of you time creating cool new applications. We don't all need to be ninja programmers."

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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