Computer Architecture

In computer science and engineering, computer architecture refers to specification of the relationship between different hardware components of a computer system. It may also refer to the practical art of defining the structure and relationship of the subcomponents of a computer. As in the architecture of buildings, computer architecture can comprise many levels of information. The highest level of the definition conveys the concepts implement. Whereas in building architecture this over-view is normally visual, computer architecture is primarily logical, positing a conceptual system that serves a particular purpose. In both instances (building and computer), many levels of detail are required to completely specify a given implementation, and some of these details are often implied as common practice.

For example, at a high level, computer architecture is concerned with how the central processing unit (CPU) acts and how it accesses computer memory. Some currently (2011) fashionable computer architectures include cluster computing and Non-Uniform Memory Access.

From early days, computers have been used to design the next generation. Programs written in the proposed instruction language can be run on a current computer via emulation. At this stage, it is now commonplace for compiler designers to collaborate, suggesting improvements in the ISA. Modern simulators normally measure time in clock cycles, and give power consumption estimates in watts, or, especially for mobile systems, energy consumption in joules.

Read more about Computer ArchitectureHistory, Subcategories, Design Goals

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