HSA is a new computing platform architecture being standardized by the HSA Foundation which has as Founding members, AMD, ARM, Imagination, TI, Mediatek, Samsung and Qualcomm. HSA is intended to make the use of heterogeneous programming widespread by making purpose built architectures as easy to program as modern CPUs are. We start off by doing this with the GPU, the most widely deployed companion processor to the CPU and one which especially complements the CPU in low power and performance workloads. This requires some hardware architecture changes, that we have been working on for some time (in particular those that enable user mode scheduling, unified address space, unified shared memory, compute context switching, etc.) and which we have encapsulated into the spec currently under review by the HSA Foundation.
In short, HSA codifies the hardware architecture changes that are needed to enable mainstream programmers to develop heterogeneous application with the same facility that they do CPU only applications by seamlessly integrating the sequential programming capability of the CPU with the parallel compute capability of the GPU. We describe the software stacks that are needed for HSA, the benefits that accrue to both developers as well as end users, and describe our vision of the how HSA will help unify the ecosystems of the smartphone and tablet platforms as well as bring it closer to that of the traditional PC market. We will provide analysis of several examples which arise in applications and present data to validate the performance per watt benefit of HSA.