HSA spec upgrade supports multivendor SoCs

May 31, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
The Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA) Foundation – a grouping of chip, IP and software companies – has released the HSA 1.1 specification claiming it takes developers closer to energy-efficient heterogeneous computing.

The specification update comes just over a year after v1.0 and enhances the ability to integrate proprietary IP blocks and blocks from multiple vendors in heterogeneous designs

The specification is intended to allow developers to write software and efficiently apply it to hardware resources of multiple types – CPUs, GPUs, DSPs, FPGAs, fabrics and fixed-function accelerators. This can be done by writing in OpenCL 2.X, C++, Java and compiling to HSAIL, the HSA intermediate language.

The additions under HSA 1.1 include: multi-vendor support, improved interoperation with graphics, cameras and other image processors, digital signal processors; a formal definition of the HSA memory model; support for system-level profiling; run-time improvements including the capability to wait on multiple signals, a non-temporal memory access that allows infrequently used values to be removed from a cache efficiently

There is also an open-source LLDB-based debugger sponsored by Codeplay Ltd supporting kernels compiled using the open source CLOC compiler and the HSA assembler. All are available from the HSA's GitHub repository.

"HSA is increasing traction, with HSA compliant systems now in the market, an increasing number of developer tools available, and now the ability to leverage IP blocks from different vendors,” said HSA Foundation president John Glossner.

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