Chip makers form group to save power in hybrid processing tasks

Advanced Micro Devices used its developer event today to kick off a new consortium dubbed the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) foundation to create industry standars that enable more power efficient processing that combines tasks performed by graphics processing units (GPUs) and central processing units (CPUs).

The goal is to save energy during the process of computing tasks that make use of GPUs and CPUs — a big new trend in computing. AMD, ARM, Imagination Technologies, MediaTek and Texas Insruments are the founding members of the group. Dozens of other companies have been invited, said Phil Rogers, president of the HSA and a corporate fellow at AMD. He made the announcement at AMD’s Fusion Developer Summit in Bellevue, Wash.

“This is all about saving energy,” Rogers said in an interview with VentureBeat.

The HSA is a nonprofit group that will help software programmers overcome programming limitations and take advantage of hybrid GPU-CPU devices, such as those made by AMD. The foundation will try to usher in a new era of software innovation in areas such as cloud-based data management, streaming, and security. Notably, AMD’s big rivals Intel and Nvidia are not a part of the foundation. AMD says the hybrid processor market is now a $55.5 billion chunk of the larger microprocessor market.

“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,” said Manju Hegde, corporate vice president of Heterogeneous Applications and Developer Solutions for AMD. “Today, we are continuing our heterogeneous computing leadership and dedication to driving broad industry adoption by making the HSA architecture an open standard.”