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Application portability across devices takes a step forward

Agam Shah | Oct. 23, 2013
The HSA Foundation has released a new specification that could help run programs faster across devices with different configurations, which should make it easier to export games and applications from gaming consoles to PCs and smartphones.

Intel and Nvidia are not yet members of HSA Foundation, and offer their own parallel programming tools to complement their chips. Intel offers developer tools and compilers for its Xeon Phi chips, while Nvidia offers CUDA for its graphics processors.

For the HQ specification, HSA Foundation will deploy a standardized task dispatch protocol for compatible chips from different companies, said Manju Hegde, corporate vice president of heterogeneous solutions at AMD.

Chips have their own proprietary dispatch format and will need to have the hooks to support HSA specifications. AMD plans to release an HSA-compatible chip code-named Kaveri for PCs next year.

HSA's specifications will be supported in Java Virtual Machines with Java 9 in 2015. The JVM will recognize HSA specifications and tap into compatible accelerators to speed up program execution without the need for extra layers of code.

The HQ specification likely is not related to AMD's Mantle low-level graphics API (application programming interface), which was introduced last month for the company's GPUs, Brookwood said.

Mantle has been compared to Microsoft's DirectX APIs used for Xbox and Windows games.

"Mantle has nothing to do with [HQ]," Brookwood said. "AMD hasn't talked about making Mantle multi-vendor."

 

 

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