The HSA Foundation Has Been Eerily Quiet As We Roll Into 2021
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 29 December 2020 at 06:25 PM EST. 13 Comments
HARDWARE --
Much of the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) steam was lost when AMD began focusing on its Radeon Open eCosystem (ROCm) software stack. While AMD was just one of several founding members, there doesn't seem to be much going on for the HSA effort as we roll into 2021 and in fact their website has been down for an extended period of time.

There hasn't been any real HSA news in a while since AMD began focusing on ROCm as its open-source compute stack, which recently reached version 4.0. AMD in the process of acquiring Xilinx has also been working on ROCm support for Xilinx FPGAs with AMD putting all their cards on this compute stack. Meanwhile Intel has been pushing oneAPI everywhere they can even on competitor hardware/platforms and NVIDIA remains all-in on CUDA.

Some worrying signs for the HSA Foundation include their Twitter feed has been silent since February and their source trees on GitHub haven't seen any measurable amounts of code in about two years. There also hasn't been any apparent new open-source adoption around HSA given the lack of major current hardware support. Of existing users, the GCC compiler dropped its HSA support a few months back after it going unmaintained in the open-source compiler's codebase.


Perhaps most concerning is their website, HSAFoundation.com, has been down since the middle of November. Trying repeatedly the past several days has just resolved in a database connection failure and appears to have gone down around 16 November without resurrection.


While AMD went its different path, others involved in the HSA Foundation have been the likes of ARM, Samsung, Texas Instruments, Imagination, Qualcomm, and others. The lofty aim of HSA is to make it easier to develop for parallel systems built out of a heterogeneous combination of CPUs, GPUs, DSPs, and other interconnected hardware. Without the backing of AMD, Intel, or NVIDIA/Arm and each of those with their own alternative efforts, it's an incredibly difficult undertaking.

Reaching out to some of the parties that have been involved with HSA working groups, the unofficial comments range from it just stagnating to it dissolving. In any case their website being down for over one month doesn't instill much hope that we'll hear much of HSA in 2021.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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