A New Golden Age for Computer Architecture

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Citation: John L. Hennessy, David A. Patterson A New Golden Age for Computer Architecture.

doi: 10.1145/3282307 Wikidata: Q61859137

Download: https://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2019/2/234352-a-new-golden-age-for-computer-architecture/fulltext

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Summary:

Authors briefly recount history of instruction set architectures (ISAs) from IBM's product unification and success with System/360 through CISC and RISC, noting market failures as general processors of complicated paradigms such as VLIW and EPIC. RISC dominates general processors in that there have been no new CISC designs in decades, Intel/AMD CISC instructions are translated to RISC internally, and in the post-PC era, RISC-based ARM ships many more units.

Describe current challenges: end of Moore's Law and Dennard Scaling (increasing transistor density and resulting decreased power consumption per transistor), Amdahl's Law (any need for sequential processing results in great decreases in performance from parallelism), and unforeseen security exploits resulting from speculative execution.

Opportunities include narrowing huge performance gap introduced by languages such as Python, domain specific architectures (e.g., TPUs), domain specific languages, open architectures, and agile hardware development.