HSA changes the way memory is handled by eliminating a hierarchy in processing-units. In a hUMA architecture, the CPU and the GPU (inside the APU) have full access to the entire system memory. This makes it a shared memory system as we know it from multi-core and multi-CPU systems. HSA gives more rights to GPUs and DSPs, leveraging work from the CPU. Compared to the Von Neumann architecture, the CPU is not the Central Processing Unit anymore – each processor can be in control and create tasks for itself and the other processors.
Henriksen also notes that Intel and Nvidia are two vendors that have yet to join the HSA Foundation.
In this video from SC13, Vinod Tipparaju from AMD describes the Heterogeneous System Architecture.
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