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 ?
The thinking in academia is still heavily influenced by this early history and has led to the development of research areas that may not be the most relevant point of departure for future work in computer architecture.
He is the author of A Digital Design Methodology for Optical Computing and Principles of Computer Architecture and a contributing author to Computer Systems Design and Architecture, Second Edition as well as the author of dozens of professional papers and patents relating to information technology.
An October 2005 symposium gathered users, developers, and researchers from academic, industrial, and government R&D institutions to discuss progress in computer architecture and parallel and distributed high- performance computing.
International Workshop on Computer Architecture for Machine Perception (7th: 2005: Palermo, Italy)
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.
picoChip currently has a development team with a balanced mix of hardware and software engineers of outstanding ability and experience; spanning such diverse fields as communications system design, software development, computer architecture, digital signal processing, RF design, and silicon design.
Lehr has extensive experience in patent and technology cases involving such areas as biotechnology, medical devices, computer architecture, chemical products, pharmaceuticals, plasma physics, electrical devices, computer networking and software and consumer products.
Dally currently leads projects on high-speed signaling, computer architecture, network architecture and programming systems.
He served as Director of WRL from 1999 through 2002, and previously worked on a variety of chip design and architecture projects including the MicroTitan Floating Point unit, BIPS, and ATOM, a binary code instrumentation system that forms the basis for a wide variety of program analysis and computer architecture analysis tools.
Compare that with the current trend in high performance computing: cluster computers based on personal computer architectures, commodity microprocessors, Gigabit Ethernet and standard networked storage architectures.
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.
The Yankee Group's just-released report, Emerging Computer Architectures, examines the development of new hardware architectures and their likely impact on manufacturing computing.

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