AMD quests for new software Holy Grail

Fabless chipmaker AMD is going on a quest to find a new “holy grail” by making parallel computing easy to program.

According to RF designline,  “Sir” Joe Macri, said that if it can find a way to make parallel computing easier to program, his software engineers will be able to let their imaginations run wild.

Macri is the corporate vice president and CTO of the firm’s Client Division. Speaking at a round table discussion at DesignCon,  he said that AMD engineers were working towards making the processing capability of the company’s accelerated processing units (APUs) as accessible to programmers as the CPU is today.

The key is heterogeneous systems architecture (HSA), which Macri claims will combine scalar processing on the CPU with parallel processing on the GPU, while offering high bandwidth access to memory at lower power.

But the hardware needed to be easier to program, easier to optimise and easier to load balance and this is all proving a little tricky.

By rethinking the approach to hardware, software developers can act more freely, using the hardware as a canvas. “Software engineers are the Michelangelo’s of today,” he said, adding that AMD’s goal with HSA architecture was to let the software developers focus on their vision.

He said that the APU, AMD’s fusion of the CPU and GPU on a single chip, is just the beginning. HSA is the APU’s future, and he hoped it would become an industry standard.