21st Century Computer Architecture
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21st Century Computer Architecture

  • Author(s): Hill, Mark D
  • Adve, Sarita
  • Ceze, Luis
  • Irwin, Mary Jane
  • Kaeli, David
  • Martonosi, Margaret
  • Torrellas, Josep
  • Wenisch, Thomas F
  • Wood, David
  • Yelick, Katherine
  • et al.
Abstract

Because most technology and computer architecture innovations were (intentionally) invisible to higher layers, application and other software developers could reap the benefits of this progress without engaging in it. Higher performance has both made more computationally demanding applications feasible (e.g., virtual assistants, computer vision) and made less demanding applications easier to develop by enabling higher-level programming abstractions (e.g., scripting languages and reusable components). Improvements in computer system cost-effectiveness enabled value creation that could never have been imagined by the field's founders (e.g., distributed web search sufficiently inexpensive so as to be covered by advertising links). The wide benefits of computer performance growth are clear. Recently, Danowitz et al. apportioned computer performance growth roughly equally between technology and architecture, with architecture credited with ~80x improvement since 1985. As semiconductor technology approaches its "end-of-the-road" (see below), computer architecture will need to play an increasing role in enabling future ICT innovation. But instead of asking, "How can I make my chip run faster?," architects must now ask, "How can I enable the 21st century infrastructure, from sensors to clouds, adding value from performance to privacy, but without the benefit of near-perfect technology scaling?". The challenges are many, but with appropriate investment, opportunities abound. Underlying these opportunities is a common theme that future architecture innovations will require the engagement of and investments from innovators in other ICT layers.

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