Welcome to AVDARK 2012
Dear Computer Lover,
Welcome to the Advanced Computer Architecture course at the department of information technology at Uppsala University 2012.
Unlike the lectures in the preparatory Computer Architecture course, which taught you how computer are designed, the goal of this course is to teach you *why* computers are built the way they are. We will reason about performance models and discuss pros/cons of the different techniques. We also cover some of the more exciting areas (I may be a bit biased here ) including various performance optimization found in modern CPUs as well as modern memory systems and multiprocessor architectures. At the end of the course you should be able to understand and appreciate why new computer systems are built the way they are, how future computers are likely to be built as well as understanding the reason for that as well as how you best can utilize modern computers. Two years ago we extended the course in accordance with the student feedback we have received from 7.5p credits to 10p credits . We now cover the course material in somewhat more depth and have added two new lab assignments.
The book used this year is the classic Hennessy/Patterson "Computer Architecture -- a Quantitative Approach" the 4th edition or 5th edition. It gives a good overview of this fast-moving field. It is a very good book, written by two of the best known computer architects in academia. I will complement the book with some research papers and recent product information in order to bring you up to date.
Andreas Sembrant and Jonas Flodin will help me with labs and hand-in grading. They are Doctor Ducks (sv: doktorand) actively pursuing research in the computer architecture and thre real time group respetively.
As for myself, I have been jumping back and forth between academia and industry seven times in my career, and have been a professor in computer architecture at Uppsala for eleven years now (time flies). Most recently, I was the chief architect for high-end server engineering at good old Sun Microsystems in California. The 3rd edition of the book described some of the babies I've architected in detail, but unfortunately the 4th and 5th editions no longer includes them. Still, most of the issues and features we will cover in this course are problems I've dealt with both in my research and industrial past. So, if you see me jumping up and down and cover some part of the book down to some gory details, that is why . You can find some of my research stuff here: Uppsala Architecture Research Team (UART).
During the past 6 years I have also been doing the startup Acumem AB on a part-time basis, developing intelligent performance tools. Acumem was acquired by the large software tools company Rogue Wave Software in the middle of last year´s AVDARK. (See articles: Rogue Wave adds Acumem to its Stable Uppsalaföretag säljs till USA.)
Welcome to the magic of computer architecture.
This is gonna' be fun,