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AMD ropes ARM, Imagination and Texas Instruments into heterogeneous computing

Big names sign up to AMD's vision
Wed Jun 13 2012, 15:06

CHIP DESIGNERS AMD, ARM, Imagination Technologies, Mediatek and Texas Instruments have signed up to create the Heterogeneous System Architecture Foundation (HSAF).

AMD has been pushing its vision for heterogeneous computing, where CPUs and GPUs can share system resources such as memory allowing developers to treat any processing core as a black box. Now the firm has managed to rope in ARM, Imagination Technologies, Mediatek and Texas Instruments to create the non-profit HSAF.

According to AMD, HSAF will try to define a hardware specification for developers to standardise upon, which should make development quicker and easier.

Phil Rogers, HSAF president and AMD corporate fellow said, "HSA [heterogeneous system architecture] 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."

AMD has scored something of a coup by getting big names such as ARM, Imagination and Texas Instruments to back its vision of a heterogeneous system architecture. Although the company has been struggling in outright performance terms against Intel, the idea of a combining CPU and GPU resources and making them appear as one to the application is something that will help it leverage its GPU compute capability against Intel.

AMD said the founding partners of HSAF will work on research, development and, most importantly, the production and sale of heterogeneous system architecture products. µ


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