The HSA Foundation (Heterogeneous System Architecture) is a not-for-profit group whose goal is to make it easy to program for parallel computing. HSA members are building a heterogeneous compute ecosystem, rooted in industry standards, for combining scalar processing on the CPU with parallel processing on the GPU while enabling high bandwidth access to memory and high application performance at low power consumption. HSA defines interfaces for parallel computation utilizing CPU, GPU and other programmable and fixed function devices, and support for a diverse set of high-level programming languages, thereby creating the next foundation in general purpose computing.

We’re excited about the HSA Foundation. Here’s why YOU can get excited too!

The IP catalog they have available with the five founders is borderline staggering, and it will only get bigger. If the HSA Foundation hasn’t gotten a critical mass of coder interest too, it will soon. From here, it looks like AMD did the right thing for the right reason, don’t underestimate this one.” – Charlie Demerjian, SemiAccurate

We have much more the learn about the HSA Foundation and its direction for the industry but we can easily say that this is probably the most important processor company collaboration announcement in many years – and it does so without the 800 pound gorilla that is Intel in attendance.” – Ryan Shrout, PC Perspective 

But AMD has followed up at this year’s Fusion developer summit with the announcement of the formation of the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) group, with some interesting founder members and some notable absentees. It is farsighted stuff and – in my view – the research people at AMD are rightly viewing systems from the top down and as they will be seen in three or four years’ time, with hundreds and thousands of processing elements (PEs).” – Peter Clarke, EE Times 

Now, though, the company is trying to take the lead in creating a unified system of computing architecture. The Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation is a joint effort between AMD, ARM, Imagination Technologies, MediaTek, and Texas Instruments; its goal is to create a single system architecture that can work across platforms and make programming easier. AMD has had this idea for a while, but seeing other companies join it makes the HSA Foundation seem a great deal more feasible. It’s also a sign of where AMD and other companies might be going.” – Adi Robertson, The Verge 

The HSA Foundation is definitely for real and formed to make a real difference. The hardware is planned to be literally bent to fit the software, and that’s unique. The founding members have a business and technical need, solving the problem means solving huge end user and business problems so there is demand, and the problem will be difficult to solve without many companies agreeing on an approach.” – Patrick Moorhead, Moor Insights & Strategy, Analyst Blog, 6/15/12 

More About HSAF and HSA Technology

Presentations & Keynotes

The Programmer’s Guide to a Universe of Possibility, by Phil Rogers

HSA Foundation - Phil Rogers

In the 2012 AMD Developer Conference Keynote, Phil discusses the exciting developments surrounding the Heterogeneous System Architecture, since its unveiling the previous year. The talk includes details of the software execution stack, tools for HSA, and some sample workload analysis. There will also be a few important announcements during Phil’s address.

Watch this presentation.

A Deeper Look Into HSAIL And It’s Runtime, by Norman Rubin

HSA Foundation - Norman Rubin

HSAIL is a new virtual byte code and virtual machine designed for parallel compute on heterogeneous devices. HSAIL makes it easy to compile high performance code both for current and future architectures. HSAIL programs will run unchanged on future hardware . Unlike AMDIL which is the graphics byte code, HSAIL has been architected to support modern high level programming languages such as Java and C++. Watch this presentation.

Bolt: A C++ Template Library for HSA, by Benjamin Sander

HSA Foundation - Benjamin Sander

In this talk, Benjamin describes a C++ template library optimized for Heterogeneous System Architecture. In many cases developers will be able to create a single source code base which runs efficiently on both the CPU and the GPU. We provide examples that show a dramatic reduction in lines of code. Finally, we show how the library allows developers to easily access the unique capabilities of HSA , including shared virtual memory, tight CPU and GPU communication, and advanced queuing capabilities. Watch this presentation.