Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach

Front Cover
Elsevier, Oct 7, 2011 - Computers - 856 pages

Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, Fifth Edition, explores the ways that software and technology in the cloud are accessed by digital media, such as cell phones, computers, tablets, and other mobile devices. The book, which became a part of Intel's 2012 recommended reading list for developers, covers the revolution of mobile computing. It also highlights the two most important factors in architecture today: parallelism and memory hierarchy.

This fully updated edition is comprised of six chapters that follow a consistent framework: explanation of the ideas in each chapter; a crosscutting issues section, which presents how the concepts covered in one chapter connect with those given in other chapters; a putting it all together section that links these concepts by discussing how they are applied in real machine; and detailed examples of misunderstandings and architectural traps commonly encountered by developers and architects. Formulas for energy, static and dynamic power, integrated circuit costs, reliability, and availability are included. The book also covers virtual machines, SRAM and DRAM technologies, and new material on Flash memory. Other topics include the exploitation of instruction-level parallelism in high-performance processors, superscalar execution, dynamic scheduling and multithreading, vector architectures, multicore processors, and warehouse-scale computers (WSCs). There are updated case studies and completely new exercises. Additional reference appendices are available online.

This book will be a valuable reference for computer architects, programmers, application developers, compiler and system software developers, computer system designers and application developers.

  • Part of Intel's 2012 Recommended Reading List for Developers
  • Updated to cover the mobile computing revolution
  • Emphasizes the two most important topics in architecture today: memory hierarchy and parallelism in all its forms.
  • Develops common themes throughout each chapter: power, performance, cost, dependability, protection, programming models, and emerging trends ("What's Next")
  • Includes three review appendices in the printed text. Additional reference appendices are available online.
  • Includes updated Case Studies and completely new exercises.

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This book is horrible. It is a book with so much of ambiguities and mistakes. Many of the solved problems are wrongly calculated. The simple maths described in many solved examples is dreadfully incorrect.
Also, the exercises at the end of the chapters seems like out of the book concepts. One cannot solve the problems by reading the chapter. It seems the people who wrote the problems didn't read the book at all. They are too many assumptions that have to be considered before solving. The exercises in the book can have different solutions and still can be confusing. Its the worst computer organisation book I have ever owned.
Hennessy and Patterson may be good researchers, but they got totally disconnected with the readers and learners by this book.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This is a great book. I purchased without hesitation.
However, the google play version is much more expensive than a paper version, which is hard to believe.
Also, the new edition has some typos
or errors. Unfortunately, some errors in Chapter 5 ( cache coherence) cost me few hours to understand what they really mean.
Besides, I hope online appendix can be put into the google play version.


1 Fundamentals of Quantitative Design and Analysis
2 Memory Hierarchy Design
3 InstructionLevel Parallelism and Its Exploitation
4 DataLevel Parallelism in Vector SIMD and GPU Architectures
5 ThreadLevel Parallelism
6 WarehouseScale Computers to Exploit RequestLevel and DataLevel Parallelism
Appendix A Instruction Set Principles
Appendix B Review of Memory Hierarchy
Basic and Intermediate Concepts
Translation between GPU terms in book and official NVIDIA and OpenCL terms

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About the author (2011)

ACM named John L. Hennessy a recipient of the 2017 ACM A.M. Turing Award for pioneering a systematic, quantitative approach to the design and evaluation of computer architectures with enduring impact on the microprocessor industry. John L. Hennessy is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1977 and was, from 2000 to 2016, its tenth President. Prof. Hennessy is a Fellow of the IEEE and ACM; a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Science, and the American Philosophical Society; and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among his many awards are the 2001 Eckert-Mauchly Award for his contributions to RISC technology, the 2001 Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award, and the 2000 John von Neumann Award, which he shared with David Patterson. He has also received seven honorary doctorates.

ACM named David A. Patterson a recipient of the 2017 ACM A.M. Turing Award for pioneering a systematic, quantitative approach to the design and evaluation of computer architectures with enduring impact on the microprocessor industry. David A. Patterson is the Pardee Chair of Computer Science, Emeritus at the University of California Berkeley. His teaching has been honored by the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California, the Karlstrom Award from ACM, and the Mulligan Education Medal and Undergraduate Teaching Award from IEEE. Patterson received the IEEE Technical Achievement Award and the ACM Eckert-Mauchly Award for contributions to RISC, and he shared the IEEE Johnson Information Storage Award for contributions to RAID. He also shared the IEEE John von Neumann Medal and the C & C Prize with John Hennessy. Like his co-author, Patterson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Computer History Museum, ACM, and IEEE, and he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame. He served on the Information Technology Advisory Committee to the U.S. President, as chair of the CS division in the Berkeley EECS department, as chair of the Computing Research Association, and as President of ACM. This record led to Distinguished Service Awards from ACM, CRA, and SIGARCH.

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