computer architecture

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computer architecture

[kəm′pyüd·ər ′är·kə‚tek·chər]
(computer science)
The art and science of assembling logical elements to form a computing device.

computer architecture

The design of a computer system. It sets the standard for all devices that connect to it and all the software that runs on it. It is based on the type of programs that will run (business, scientific) and the number of programs that run concurrently.

Space and Time
All components in a computer are based on space (how much) and time (how fast). One example is the amount of memory a computer can access and how fast it can access it. Another is the width of the channels (16-bit, 32-bit, etc.) between the CPU and memory and between the CPU and peripheral devices and how fast they transfer data.

CISC Vs. RISC
The way a computer's instructions are designed is a fundamental architectural component. The trend toward large, complicated instruction sets was reversed with RISC computers, which use simpler instructions. The result is a leaner, faster computer, but requires that the compilers generate more code for complex functions that used to be handled in hardware. Both CISC and RISC architectures are widely used. See RISC.

Special Purposes
Computers designed for single purposes, such as vector processors and database machines, require special architectures. In addition, computers designed from the ground up for fault tolerance also require unique designs.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Center for Computational Sciences was established at ORNL in 1991 to evaluate the suitability of new computer architectures for scientific applications and to deliver leadership class computing capability to the scientific community.
Current areas of application for PSI-TEC's advanced material base which are being pursued by the company include electro-optic transducers for extremely high-speed telecommunication, chip-to-chip optical interconnects for next generation computer architectures, and all-optical microprocessor components for advanced data encryption.
Cycle-accurate simulation of unmodified commercial applications and operating systems on new computer architectures is a critical tool for computer systems research and education," said Babak Falsafi, associate professor of ECE and co-director of the Computer Architecture Lab at Carnegie Mellon.
Professor Heuring's research encompasses computer architectures and programming language design implementation.
Blade computers enable organizations to deploy large amounts of compute power in a highly flexible architecture, at massively reduced cost when compared with traditional computer architectures.
The lab's Center for Computational Sciences was established in 1991 to evaluate new computer architectures for science.
Parallel computer architectures of the shared-memory and distributed-memory type and relevant network typologies, parallel computing on a theoretical level, OpenMP and performance problems, ccNUMA-specific optimization techniques, and distributed-memory parallel programming with the Message Passing Interface (MPI) and writing MPI code are also discussed.
Parallel programming libraries and compiler enhancements, such as MPI and OpenMP, and distributed debugging and monitoring tools support the development of parallel computing applications that are able to effectively leverage these cluster computer architectures.
User organizations need a source of common system specification data, and top-level tools for sorting through various aspects of the technologies to better understand and explain how different computer architectures match their requirements.
Then, 100 years from now, people using different computer architectures would only have one hurdle to leap to read old formats on new machines--writing a set of instructions so the universal computer could be emulated on whatever machines exist then.

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