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.

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 ?
Covering all the major topics normally found in a first course in computer architecture, the text focuses on the essentials including the instruction set architecture (ISA), network-related issues, and programming methodology.
Professor Heuring's research encompasses computer architectures and programming language design implementation.
International Symposium on Computer Architecture and High Performance Computing (21st: 2009: Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Predicting the performance characteristics of a computer for your specific application codes is a very complex process and buyers often narrow the field of choices by first deciding on the basic computer architecture type, e.
Seitz, who spent seven years designing the computer architecture that led to the experimental Cosmic Cube computer in 1983.
These proceedings from the October/November 2008 symposium focus on computer architecture and high performance computing.
A premier conference on high performance computing and networking, SC2000 is sponsored by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Architecture (SIGARCH).
Sartori holds several computer architecture patents and was one of the driving forces behind HyperTransport(tm), the revolutionary bus of AMD's Opteron CPU.

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