HSA Foundation Launches New Era of Pervasive, Energy-Efficient Computing With HSA 1.0 Specification Release

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwired - March 16, 2015) - The Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation today announced a major milestone with its release of the 1.0 HSA specification, which brings the technology industry one step closer to true heterogeneous computing on platforms spanning mobile devices, desktops, high-performance computing (HPC) systems and servers.

HSA is a standardized platform design supported by more than 40 technology companies and 17 universities that unlocks the performance and power efficiency of the parallel computing engines found in most modern electronic devices. It allows developers to easily and efficiently apply the hardware resources in today's complex systems-on-chip (SOCs).

"Through HSA, we are working to ensure that end users of technology live in a world of new, incredible applications that run fast at low power," said Phil Rogers, president of the HSA Foundation. "The Foundation members have been collaborating on this project since we joined together in June 2012, and we are thrilled to be delivering the fruit of that labor today."

The newly-approved specification comprises the key elements that improve the programmability of heterogeneous processors, the portability of programming code and interoperability across different vendor devices. These include:

  • The HSA System Architecture Specification, which defines how the hardware operates;
  • The HSA Programmers Reference Manual (PRM), which targets the software ecosystem, tool and compiler developers; 
  • The HSA Runtime Specification, which defines how applications interact with HSA platforms.

"HSA specification 1.0 includes several crucial features for efficient implementation of productive high-level languages, such as C++, Java and Python on heterogeneous computing hardware," said Professor Wen-Mei Hwu, CTO, Multicoreware, and Professor, Computer Engineering, UIUC. "Such enhancement of programmability will make the benefit of heterogeneous computing available to mainstream, mobile and server applications."

"HSA has been remarkably well accepted and supported," added Jon Peddie, who heads Jon Peddie Research, a computer graphics market research and management consulting firm. "The specification has answered an obvious need in the industry, which is reflected in its growing membership."

"Release of the new specification should help improve more power efficient computing performance across a wide array of computing platforms," said Patrick Moorhead, who leads market research firm Moor Insights & Strategy. "I anticipate a lot of interesting use cases, from video chat apps and search to TV shows and movies. App developers should also find it easier to harness all of the processors together."

The specification was officially launched today during the HSA 1.0 launch event held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California. The event featured a panel discussion among HSA Foundation board members, including AMD, ARM, Imagination Technologies, LG, MediaTek, Qualcomm and Samsung. A developer panel of industry luminaries discussing software, the ecosystem and applications in the mobile, PC and HPC computing was also featured.

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Supporting Quotes


"HSA 1.0 is an idea whose time has come. It gives developers easier access to the power-efficient performance on today's rich SoCs than ever before, freeing them to find creative solutions to compute's toughest challenges. AMD intends to bring processors which incorporate the architecture described in the specification to market in 2015 and help lead the industry into the new era of heterogeneous computing."

-- Manju Hegde, corporate vice president, AMD


"Heterogeneous computing is playing an increasing role in system design. HSA systems will enable energy-efficient interoperation between multiple processor types to take full advantage of next-generation SoCs."

-- Jem Davies, vice president of technology, media processing group, ARM

Imagination Technologies

"The future of computing will be based around heterogeneous platforms, and software APIs will be essential in their creation. As a co-founder of the HSA Foundation, Imagination is pleased to have played a key role in developing the new specifications. These specifications will enable interoperability across devices, and will let developers write software that makes the most of future coherent heterogeneous hardware platforms that include our PowerVR GPUs and MIPS CPUs."

-- John Min, director of processor technology marketing, Imagination Technologies

LG Electronics

"HSA will address the current needs of efficient computing, enabling consumers to take full benefit of maximizing the overall performance in their smart devices. We are looking forward to enhancing our SoC technologies in the partnership with HSA."

-- SJ Choi, senior vice president, LG Electronics


"MediaTek has been leveraging heterogeneous computing resources available in SoCs, and was one of the first to productize mainstream heterogeneous applications, including 2D-to-3D, video face beautifier, video stabilization in MT6589 and stereo camera features in MT6785. HSA allows us to move to the next step of heterogeneous computing with the ease of conventional programming and superior power efficiency."

-- Giri Amarakone, senior director, marketing and business development, MediaTek


"Qualcomm Technologies Inc. is developing new, low power, heterogeneous computing technologies for Qualcomm® Hexagon™ DSP, Qualcomm® Adreno™ GPU and custom CPU micro architectures. We believe that application developers for mobile and 'Internet of Everything' devices can deliver innovative experiences on Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processors if certain aspects of heterogeneous computing are standardized. Together with operating system companies and various standards committees including the HSA Foundation, of which QTI is a founding member, we are collaborating with many industry players to help define open standards that are beneficial for these types of new opportunities."

-- Tim Leland, vice president of product management, Qualcomm Technologies Inc.


"Samsung is pursuing the best products in the world, such as application processors and smart phones for the mobile market. Heterogeneous system architecture is a good candidate for building efficient systems and the release of the 1.0 HSA specification will help Samsung achieve its goals in a more efficient way."

-- Jay Kim, vice president, Samsung Electronics

About the HSA Foundation
The HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) Foundation is a non-profit consortium of SoC IP vendors, OEMs, Academia, SoC vendors, OSVs and ISVs, whose goal is making programming for parallel computing easy and pervasive. HSA members are building a heterogeneous computing ecosystem, rooted in industry standards, which combines scalar processing on the CPU with parallel processing on the GPU, while enabling high bandwidth access to memory and high application performance with low power consumption. HSA defines interfaces for parallel computation using CPU, GPU and other programmable and fixed function devices, while supporting a diverse set of high-level programming languages, and creating the foundation for next-generation, general-purpose computing.

Contact Information:


Neal Leavitt
Leavitt Communications
(760) 639-2900