Research Directions in Computer Architecture,
MASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECH CAMBRIDGE LAB FOR COMPUTER SCIENCE
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The architecture of a computer system defines the interface that the hardware presents to the software of the system, and determines how this interface is realized by subunits of the computer system. In the early days of the stored program computer, knowledge of logic design, the technology of logic and memory devices, elementary machine language programming techniques, and a good measure of common sense were all that was required to be a computer architect. Now things have changed. Our concept of what we expect a computer system to do has reached a high degree of sophistication -- large data bases, multiple concurrent processes, and programming languages that offer recursive programming, abstract data types, protection, and access control. These expectations have been met by elaborate software systems -- operating systems, data management systems and runtime support for language implementations. The ability of system designers to meet these expectations, and the quality of the facilities they can provide to the application programmer, are critically dependent on properties of mechanisms built into the hardware. Thus it has become essential that contemporary computer architects be aware of how architectural decisions interact with software quality -- how hardware structures can more effectively meet the needs of operating systems and modern concepts or program and data structure.
- Computer Hardware
- Computer Systems