EE Times reports the HSA alliance previewed their upcoming specification at the Hot Chips conference. Set to be released around mid-2014, the updated spec will let graphics cores interact on a SoC with host processor cores, enabling the sharing of a common pool of coherent memory. Later this will be expanded to other kinds of cores including DSPs, codecs, DMA engines and other accelerators. Members of the Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA) foundation include AMD, Imagination Technologies, ARM, Marvell, MediaTek, Qualcomm, Samsung, and Texas Instruments. Notable companies that have opted not to join the group include Intel and NVIDIA.
In general, HSA expects to define a unified addressing scheme across all processor cores supporting memory coherence as well as operations into a pageable system memory. It also will provide high-level language support for GPU compute processors, including preemption and context switching.
Specifically, HSA aims to deliver an open-source software stack for Linux that will optimize general-purpose graphics (GP-GPU) programs written in the higher-level OpenCL language, reducing memory copies and thus latency. So far, the group has created a library of parallel-programming primitives called Bolt and a general programmer's reference model. In addition, HSA software will work in tandem with an effort to integrate GP-GPU features into Java 9, set for release in 2015.