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HSA Foundation Members Preview Plans for Heterogeneous Platforms

World's First Heterogeneous Systems Architecture Platforms Will Span Mobile Devices, Desktops, HPC Systems and Servers

SANTA CLARA, CA, Oct. 6, 2015 – The Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation today previewed several of its members' plans for supporting HSA in their next-generation products. Products from AMD, ARM, Imagination Technologies and MediaTek will be the world's first that are based on HSA, a standardized platform design that unlocks the performance and power efficiency of the parallel computing engines found in most modern electronic devices.

HSA allows developers to easily and efficiently apply the hardware resources in today's complex systems-on-chips (SoCs). It will enable applications to run faster and at lower power across the range of computing platforms spanning mobile devices, desktops, high-performance computing (HPC) systems and servers.

Following the release of the v1.0 specification in March 2015, conformance tests are now available online to members who are testing their platforms in preparation for HSA certification. To support these products, HSA Foundation working groups are standardizing tools and APIs for debug and profiling, creating guidelines for incorporating IP from multiple vendors into the same SoC, and much more.

"These are exciting times for the industry as companies prepare to introduce the first HSA products," said Greg Stoner, managing director of the HSA Foundation, and senior director, computing technology for AMD. "As we draw ever closer to pervasive adoption of heterogeneous computing, devices will be able to run applications at much higher performance and lower power, providing an opportunity for developers to create incredible new applications across computing platforms."

"After the HSA's successful release of the v1.0 specification in March 2015, the organization went to work on developing conformance tests," said Dr. Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research. "Conformance testing is critical to a meaningful HSA certification, and now that is in place too. This firmly and permanently establishes the organization's place in the industry."

HSA Foundation members lay out their plans

AMD recently launched the world's first processors designed to support the full set of HSA features with their SoC products targeting the desktop and laptop PC markets. "AMD is thrilled to be amongst the first companies shipping products designed to fully support the HSA Foundation standards with the introduction of the 6th generation A-series processor (code-named "Carrizo")," said Stoner. "We see HSA as the right technical direction for the industry to fully utilize the capabilities of modern SoCs to deliver improved performance, power utilization and programmability."

"As a founding member of the HSA foundation, ARM has worked with our fellow members to develop specifications that enable hardware and software to take advantage of both CPU and GPU compute," said Jem Davies, vice president of technology, media processing group, ARM. "ARM is actively developing CPU, GPU and interconnect IP with energy efficiency and full system coherency as guiding design principles while extending the system capabilities aligned with HSA coherency standards."

Imagination is planning a staged rollout of HSA across its processors starting in 2016. This includes MIPS I-class and P-class CPUs, PowerVR GPUs and HSA compliant fabric solutions. According to Peter McGuinness, director of multimedia technology marketing for Imagination, "Because it provides a consistent programming model and enables efficient execution on CPUs, GPUs and beyond, HSA is an important standard for future SoCs. Imagination has played a key role in developing the HSA specifications as a founder member of the HSA Foundation. HSA holds the promise of enabling developers to write software that makes the most of our future heterogeneous platforms targeting a range of devices including mobile and tablets, vision systems, automotive, and more."

MediaTek is working with partners in developing HSA features on mobile SoCs. The company is already receiving interest in HSA from customers, and is on track to deliver HSA features in mobile SoC products in phases. "MediaTek is a firm believer in the value of heterogeneous computing and a strong supporter of the good work of the HSA Foundation. We are working to leverage this technology into our products to provide even better end user experience," said Giri Amarakone, senior director, marketing and business development, MediaTek.

General Processor Technologies (GPT) is sponsoring an open source project to expand HSA tools support to the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) by enabling HSA Intermediate Language (HSAIL) binary format (BRIG) translation for GCC. "We're delighted to be involved in creating a foundational tools ecosystem for HSA. Through the project we're sponsoring, heterogeneous processors may benefit from kernel agent support and the vector/SIMD optimizations in GCC," said Dr. John Glossner, CEO of General Processor Technologies.

As companies roll out their HSA platforms, hardware and software learnings will be quickly integrated into the HSA specifications. The v1.1 specification will be available in the first quarter of 2016 and will be backward compatible with v1.0.

About the HSA Foundation

The HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) Foundation is a non-profit consortium of SoC IP vendors, OEMs, Academia, SoC vendors, OSVs and ISVs, whose goal is making programming for parallel computing easy and pervasive. HSA members are building a heterogeneous computing ecosystem, rooted in industry standards, which combines scalar processing on the CPU with parallel processing on the GPU, while enabling high bandwidth access to memory and high application performance with low power consumption. HSA defines interfaces for parallel computation using CPU, GPU and other programmable and fixed function devices, while supporting a diverse set of high-level programming languages, and creating the foundation for next-generation, general-purpose computing.

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