1/2017

TUT named as an academic research partner to the HSA Foundation

The HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) Foundation, a consortium for standardising heterogeneous computing platforms, has named TUT as an HSA Academic Center of Excellence. By participating in the development of standards, TUT hopes to improve its ability to influence the relationship between the power consumption and computing power of devices such as smart phones.

Processor

 

As HSA Academic Center of Excellence TUT will have a front-row seat to see how the standardisation efforts progress and to give feedback on them.

 

The HSA (Heterogeneous Systems Architecture) Foundation, a globally operating foundation that develops standards for heterogeneous computing platforms, has expanded its academic partnership programme and named TUT as its third European academic research partner, HSA Academic Center of Excellence.

The two existing partners are Technische Universität (TU) Darmstadt and Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) in Germany. The partnership programme also involves Northeastern University in the United States.

“The HSA Foundation is a non-profit consortium, whose largest backers include AMD, one of the largest processor manufacturers in the world, and ARM, which manufactures processors devices such as smart phones. In addition to these, the HSA Foundation’s members include device manufacturers, operating system companies, IT system providers, and universities,” says Academy Postdoctoral Researcher Pekka Jääskeläinen from the Laboratory of Pervasive Computing at TUT.

New standards for computing hardware

Today, devices like the smart phone are computers crammed into a small space that incorporate a “heterogeneous computing platform” consisting of several different processors that perform different types of operations.

The HSA Foundation develops common standards for computing hardware that are used in the design and programming new computing platforms consisting of different types of processors. The purpose of the improved standards is to facilitate the programming of heterogeneous computing platforms.

“Heterogeneous computing platforms help us reduce the power consumption of devices like smart phones. High power consumption not only causes batteries to drain faster, it also causes the device to heat up. Because of its small size, a smart phone cannot accommodate very large cooling equipment. The space taken up by cooling equipment and the additional need for electricity also pose challenges in larger server environments,” says Jääskeläinen.

“The HSA Foundation is constantly considering what type of common properties and interfaces heterogeneous computing platforms might include to make them easier to program. The Foundation defines specifications and documents the properties and programming methods required of HSA-standardised devices.”

Token of appreciation for TUT

“For a couple of years now, our research group in tailored parallel computing has been monitoring as well as applying the standards prepared by the HSA Foundation to our own design and programming tool for tailored parallel platforms. We have also given some feedback to the Foundation,” says Jääskeläinen.

Jääskeläinen and his colleagues are thankful for the designation granted to TUT.

“We consider it to be an acknowledgement of our active efforts with heterogeneous computing platforms and an indication that the HSA Foundation appreciates our expertise. We also hope that we will now have a better chance to influence standards when we find something to improve in them through our own research work.”

Front-row seat to standardisation efforts

As the HSA Foundation’s research partners, the people at TUT will have a front-row seat to see how the standardisation efforts progress and to give feedback on them.

“We will also get to test the newest standards at an early stage, before they are released to the general public. This is clearly beneficial, as one of our group’s research topics is addressing the challenges in programming heterogeneous platforms.”

“For 15 years, we have been researching heterogeneous platforms and their efficient design as well as the tailoring of computing platforms. We have also carried out research into related methods and tools. I believe that we will have something to offer to standardisation efforts in the future,” says Jääskeläinen.

Text: Leena Koskenlaakso
Photo: 123RF

 
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