AMD, ARM, Imagination Technologies, MediaTek, and Texas Instruments on Tuesday announced the formation of the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation, a new non-profit consortium that seeks to "define and promote an open, standards-based approach to heterogeneous computing that will provide a common hardware specification and broad support ecosystem."
In other words the goal is to create a single architecture that can work across platforms and make programming easier for software developers, while taking advantage of both CPU and GPU computing. Initially the founding members, all of which develop various SoC products, plan to ensure that all of their forthcoming chips support open standards such as OpenCL, Renderscript Compute and Direct Compute.
“One year ago, AMD boldly announced a roadmap for making HSA a reality, starting with combining the CPU and GPU as a unified processing engine to create an architecture that would greatly simplify the programming of heterogeneous platforms. Today, we are continuing our heterogeneous computing leadership and dedication to driving broad industry adoption by making the HSA architecture an open standard,” said Manju Hegde, corporate VP of heterogeneous applications and developer solutions for AMD.
Ultimately the success of the HSA Foundation will depend on the group’s ability to gain support from all key industry players — including operating systems developers, application programmers, and device OEMs. If that’s the case this could lead to better software performance and power consumption across notebooks, smartphones, and tablets regardless of the computing platform they’re based on.
In related news, just one day after presenting the HSA Foundation to the world, AMD has announced that it has signed a deal to license ARM’s Cortex-A5 chip architecture. Such a move has been rumored for a while but the deal is not as encompassing as previously speculated — at least not yet.
AMD says it remains committed to the x86 architecture and merely plans to combine it with ARM's TrustZone technology to add better security features in its next generation of business-focused laptops and tablets. The company will not build entire processors based on the ARM architecture.