Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach

Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach

by John L. Hennessy, David A. Patterson

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780123838735
Publisher: Elsevier Science
Publication date: 10/07/2011
Series: The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Architecture and Design
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 856
Sales rank: 938,253
File size: 26 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

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.
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.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 5: I/O And Consistency of Cached Data

Because of caches, data can be found in memory and in the cache. As long as the CPU is the sole device changing or reading the data and the cache stands between the CPU and memory, there is little danger in the CPU seeing the old or stale copy. I/O devices give the opportunity for other devices to cause copies to be inconsistent or for other devices to read the stale copies. Figure 5.46 illustrates the problem, generally referred to as the cache-coherency problem.

The question is this: Where does the I/O occur in the computer-between the I/O device and the cache or between the I/O device and main memory? If input puts data into the cache and output reads data from the cache, both I/O and the CPU see the same data, and the problem is solved. The difficulty in this approach is that it interferes with the CPU. I/O competing with the CPU for cache access will cause the CPU to stall for I/O. Input will also interfere with the cache by displacing some information with the new data that is unlikely to be accessed by the CPU soon. For example, on a page fault the CPU may need to access a few words in a page, but a program is not likely to access every word of the page if it were loaded into the cache. Given the integration of caches onto the same integrated circuit, it is also difficult for that interface to be visible.

The goal for the I/O system in a computer with a cache is to prevent the stale data problem while interfering with the CPU as little as possible. Many systems, therefore, prefer that I/O occur directly to main memory, with main memory

FIGURE 5.46 The cache-coherency problem. A' and B refer to the cached copiesof A and B in memory. (a) shows cache and main memory in a coherent state. In (b) we assume a write-back cache when the CPU writes 550 into A. Now A' has the value but the value in memory has the old, stale value of 100. If an output used the value of A from memory, it would get the stale data. In (c) the I/O system inputs 440 into the memory copy of B, so now B, in the cache has the old, stale data acting as an I/O buffer. If a write-through cache is used, then memory has an upto-date copy of the information, and there is no stale-data issue for output. (This is a reason many machines use write through.) Input requires some extra work. The software solution is to guarantee that no blocks of the I/O buffer designated for input are in the cache. In one approach, a buffer page is marked as noncachable; the operating system always inputs to such a page. In another approach, the operating system flushes the buffer addresses from the cache after the input occurs. A hardware solution is to check the I/O addresses on input to see if they are in the cache; to avoid slowing down the cache to check addresses, sometimes a duplicate set of tags are used to allow checking of I/O addresses in parallel with processor cache accesses. If there is a match of I/O addresses in the cache, the cache entries are invalidated to avoid stale data. All these approaches can also be used for output with write-back caches. More about this is found in Chapter 6.

The cache-coherency problem applies to multiprocessors as well as I/O. Unlike I/O, where multiple data copies are a rare event-one to be avoided whenever possible-a program running on multiple processors will want to have copies of the same data in several caches. Performance of a multiprocessor program depends on the performance of the system when sharing data. The protocols to maintain coherency for multiple processors are called cache-coherency protocols and are described in Chapter 8.

5.10 Putting It All Together the Alpha AXP 21064 Memory Hierarchy

Thus far we have given glimpses of the Alpha AXP 21064 memory hierarchy; this section unveils the full design and shows the performance of its components for the SPEC92 programs. Figure 5.47 gives the overall picture of this design.

Let's really start at the beginning, when the Alpha is turned on. Hardware on the chip loads the instruction cache from an external PROM. This initialization allows the 8-KB instruction cache to omit a valid bit, for there are always valid instructions in the cache; they just might not be the ones your program is interested in. The hardware does clear the valid bits in the data cache. The PC is set to the kseg segment so that the instruction addresses are not translated, thereby avoiding the TLB.

One of the first steps is to update the instruction TLB with valid page table entries (PTEs) for this process. Kernel code updates the TLB with the contents of the appropriate page table entry for each page to be mapped. The instruction TLB has eight entries for 8-KB pages and four for 4-MB pages. (The 4-MB pages are used by large programs such as the operating system or data bases that will likely touch most of their code.) A miss in the TLB invokes the Privileged Architecture Library (PAL code) software that updates the TLB. PAL code is simply machine language routines with some implementation-specific extensions to allow access to low-level hardware, such as the TLB. PAL code runs with exceptions disabled, and instruction accesses are not checked for memory management violations, allowing PAL code to fill the TLB.

Once the operating system is ready to begin executing a user process, it sets the PC to the appropriate address in segment segO. We are now ready to follow memory hierarchy in action: Figure 5.47 is labeled with the steps of this narrative. The page frame portion of this address is sent to the TLB (step 1), while the 8-bit index from the page offset is sent to the direct-mapped 8-KB (256 32-byte blocks) instruction cache (step 2). The fully associative TLB simultaneously searches all 12 entries to find a match between the address and a valid PTE (step 3). In addition to translating the address, the TLB checks to see if the PTE demands that this access result in an exception. An exception might occur if either this access violates the protection on the page or ifthe page is not in main memory. If there is no exception, and if the translated physical address matches the tag in the instruction cache (step 4), then the proper 8 bytes of the 32-byte block are furnished to the CPU using the lower bits of the page offset (step 5), and the instruction stream access is done.

A miss, on the other hand, simultaneously starts an access to the second-level cache (step 6) and checks the prefetch instruction stream buffer (step 7). If the desired instruction is found in the stream buffer (step 8), the critical 8 bytes are sent to the CPU, the full 32-byte block of the stream buffer is written into the instruction cache (step 9), and the request to the second-level cache is canceled. Steps 6 to 9 take just a single clock cycle.

If the instruction is not in the prefetch stream buffer, the second-level cache continues trying to fetch the block. The 21064 microprocessor is designed to work with direct-mapped second-level caches from 128 KB to 8 MB with a miss penalty between 3 and 16 clock cycles. For this section we use the memory system of the DEC 3000 model 800 Alpha AXP. It has a 2-MB (65,536 32-byte blocks) second-level cache, so the 29-bit block address is divided into a 13-bit tag and a 16-bit index (step 10). The cache reads the tag from that index and if it matches (step 11), the cache returns the critical 16 bytes in the first 5 clock cycles and the other 16 bytes in the next 5 clock cycles (step 12). The path between the first- and second-level cache is 128 bits wide (16 bytes). At the same time, a request is made for the next sequential 32-byte block, which is loaded into the instruction stream buffer in the next 10 clock cycles (step 13).

The instruction stream does not rely on the TLB for address translation. It simply increments the physical address of the miss by 32 bytes, checking to make sure that the new address is within the same page. If the incremented address crosses a page boundary, then the prefetch is suppressed.

If the instruction is not found in the secondary cache, the translated physical address is sent to memory (step 14). The DEC 3000 model 800 divides memory into four memory mother boards (MMB), each of which contains two to eight SIMMs (single inline memory modules). The SIMMs come with eight DRAMs for information plus two DRAMs for error protection per side, and the options are single- or double-sided SIMMs using I-Mbit, 4-Mbit, or 16-Mbit DRAMs. Hence the memory capacity of the model 800 is 8 MB (4 x 2 x 8 x I x 1/8) to 1024 MB (4 x 8 x 8 x 16 x 2/8), always organized 256 bits wide. The average time to transfer 32 bytes from memory to the secondary cache is 36 clock cycles after the processor makes the request. The second-level cache loads this data 16 bytes at a time.

Since the second-level cache is a write-back cache, any miss can lead to the old block being written back to memory. The 21064 places this "victim" block into a victim buffer to get out of the way of new data (step 15). The new data are loaded into the cache as soon as they arrive (step 16), and then the old data are written from the victim buffer (step 17). There is a single block in the victim buffer, so a second miss would need to stall until the victim buffer empties.

Suppose this initial instruction is a load. It will send the page frame of its data address to the data TLB (step 18) at the same time as the 8-bit index from the page offset is sent to the data cache (step 19). The data TLB is a fully associative cache containing 32 PTEs, each of which represents page sizes from 8 KB to 4 MB. A TLB miss will trap to PAL code to load the valid PTE for this address. In the worst case, the page is not in memory, and the operating system gets the page from disk (step 20). Since millions of instructions could execute during a page fault, the operating system will swap in another process if there is something waiting to run.

Assuming that we have a valid PTE in the data TLB (step 21), the cache tag and the physical page frame are compared (step 22), with a match sending the desired 8 bytes from the 32-byte block to the CPU (step 23). A miss goes to the second-level cache, which proceeds exactly like an instruction miss.

Suppose the instruction is a store instead of a load. The page frame portion of the data address is again sent to the data TLB and the data cache (steps 18 and 19), which checks for protection violations as well as translates the address. The physical address is then sent to the data cache (steps 21 and 22). Since the data cache uses write through, the store data are simultaneously sent to the write buffer (step 24) and the data cache (step 25). As explained on page 425, the 21064 pipelines write hits. The data address of this store is checked for a match, and at the same time the data from the previous write hit are written to the cache (step 26). If the address check was a hit, then the data from this store are placed in the write pipeline buffer. On a miss, the data are just sent to the write buffer since the data cache does not allocate on a write miss.

The write buffer takes over now. It has four entries, each containing a whole cache block. If the buffer is full, then the CPU must stall until a block is written to the second-level cache. If the buffer is not full, the CPU continues and the address of the word is presented to the write buffer (step 27). It checks to see if the word matches any block already in the buffer so that a sequence of writes can be stitched together into a full block, thereby optimizing use of the write bandwidth between the first- and second-level cache.

All writes are eventually passed on to the second-level cache. If a write is a hit, then the data are written to the cache (step 28). Since the second-level cache uses write back, it cannot pipeline writes: a full 32-byte block write takes 5 clock cycles to check the address and 10 clock cycles to write the data. A write of 16 bytes or less takes 5 clock cycles to check the address and 5 clock cycles to write the data. In either case the cache marks the block as dirty.

If the access to the second-level cache is a miss, the victim block is checked to see if it is dirty; if so, it is placed in the victim buffer as before (step 15). If the new data are a full block, then the data are simply written and marked dirty. A partial block write results in an access to main memory since the second-level cache policy is to allocate on a write miss....

Table of Contents

Printed Text Chap 1: Fundamentals of Quantitative Design and Analysis Chap 2: Memory Hierarchy Design Chap 3: Instruction-Level Parallelism and Its Exploitation Chap 4: Data-Level Parallelism in Vector, SIMD, and GPU Architectures Chap 5: Multiprocessors and Thread-Level Parallelism Chap 6: The Warehouse-Scale Computer App A: Instruction Set Principles App B: Review of Memory Hierarchy App C: Pipelining: Basic and Intermediate Concepts

Online App D: Storage Systems App E: Embedded Systems App F: Interconnection Networks App G: Vector Processors App H: Hardware and Software for VLIW and EPIC App I: Large-Scale Multiprocessors and Scientific Applications App J: Computer Arithmetic App K: Survey of Instruction Set Architectures App L: Historical Perspectives


I am very lucky to have studied computer architecture under Prof. David Patterson at U.C. Berkeley more than 20 years ago. I enjoyed the courses I took from him, in the early days of RISC architecture. Since leaving Berkeley to help found Sun Microsystems, I have used the ideas from his courses and many more that are described in this important book.

The good news today is that this book covers incredibly important and contemporary material. The further good news is that much exciting and challenging work remains to be done, and that working from Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach is a great way to start.

The most successful architectural projects that I have been involved in have always started from simple ideas, with advantages explainable using simple numerical models derived from hunches and rules of thumb. The continuing rapid advances in computing technology and new applications ensure that we will need new similarly simple models to understand what is possible in the future, and that new classes of applications will stress systems in different and interesting ways.

The quantitative approach introduced in Chapter 1 is essential to understanding these issues. In particular, we expect to see, in the near future, much more emphasis on minimizing power to meet the demands of a given application, across all sizes of systems; much remains to be learned in this area.

I have worked with many different instruction sets in my career. I first programmed a PDP-8, whose instruction set was so simple that a friend easily learned to disassemble programs just by glancing at the hole punches in paper tape! I wrote a lot of code in PDP-11 assembler, including an interpreter for the Pascal programming language and for the VAX (which was used as an example in the first edition of this book); the success of the VAX led to the widespread use of UNIX on the early Internet.

The PDP-11 and VAX were very conventional complex instruction set (CISC) computer architectures, with relatively compact instruction sets that proved nearly impossible to pipeline. For a number of years in public talks I used the performance of the VAX 11/780 as the baseline; its speed was extremely well known because faster implementations of the architecture were so long delayed. VAX performance stalled out just as the x86 and 680x0 CISC architectures were appearing in microprocessors; the strong economic advantages of microprocessors led to their overwhelming dominance. Then the simpler reduced instruction set (RISC) computer architectures—pioneered by John Cocke at IBM; promoted and named by Patterson and Hennessy; and commercialized in POWER PC, MIPS, and SPARC—were implemented as microprocessors and permitted highperformance pipeline implementations through the use of their simple registeroriented instruction sets. A downside of RISC was the larger code size of programs and resulting greater instruction fetch bandwidth, a cost that could be seen to be acceptable using the techniques of Chapter 1 and by believing in the future CMOS technology trends promoted in the now-classic views of Carver Mead. The kind of clear-thinking approach to the present problems and to the shape of future computing advances that led to RISC architecture is the focus of this book.

Chapter 2 (and various appendices) presents interesting examples of contemporary and important historical instruction set architecture. RISC architecture—the focus of so much work in the last twenty years—is by no means the final word here. I worked on the design of the SPARC architecture and several implementations for a decade, but more recently have worked on two different styles of processor: picoJava, which implemented most of the Java Virtual Machine instructions—a compact, high-level, bytecoded instruction set—and MAJC, a very simple and multithreaded VLIW for Java and media-intensive applications. These two architectures addressed different and new market needs: for lowpower chips to run embedded devices where space and power are at a premium, and for high performance for a given amount of power and cost where parallel applications are possible. While neither has achieved widespread commercial success, I expect that the future will see many opportunities for different ISAs, and an in-depth knowledge of history here often gives great guidance—the relationships between key factors, such as the program size, execution speed, and power consumption, returning to previous balances that led to great designs in the past.

Chapters 3 and 4 describe instruction-level parallelism (ILP): the ability to execute more than one instruction at a time. This has been aided greatly, in the last 20 years, by techniques such as RISC and VLIW (very long instruction word) computing. But as later chapters here point out, both RISC and especially VLIW as practiced in the Intel itanium architecture are very power intensive. In our attempts to extract more instruction-level parallelism, we are running up against the fact that the complexity of a design that attempts to execute N instructions simultaneously grows like N2: the number of transistors and number of watts to produce each result increases dramatically as we attempt to execute many instructions of arbitrary programs simultaneously. There is thus a clear countertrend emerging: using simpler pipelines with more realistic levels of ILP while exploiting other kinds of parallelism by running both multiple threads of execution per processor and, often, multiple processors on a single chip. The challenge for designers of high-performance systems of the future is to understand when simultaneous execution is possible, but then to use these techniques judiciously in combination with other, less granular techniques that are less power intensive and complex.

In graduate school I would often joke that cache memories were the only great idea in computer science. But truly, where you put things affects profoundly the design of computer systems. Chapter 5 describes the classical design of cache and main memory hierarchies and virtual memory. And now, new, higher-level programming languages like Java support much more reliable software because they insist on the use of garbage collection and array bounds checking, so that security breaches from "buffer overflow" and insidious bugs from false sharing of memory do not creep into large programs. It is only languages, such as Java, that insist on the use of automatic storage management that can implement true software components. But garbage collectors are notoriously hard on memory hierarchies, and the design of systems and language implementations to work well for such areas is an active area of research, where much good work has been done but much exciting work remains.

Java also strongly supports thread-level parallelism—a key to simple, powerefficient, and high-performance system implementations that avoids the N2 problem discussed earlier but brings challenges of its own. A good foundational understanding of these issues can be had in Chapter 6. Traditionally, each processor was a separate chip, and keeping the various processors synchronized was expensive, both because of its impact on the memory hierarchy and because the synchronization operations themselves were very expensive. The Java language is also trying to address these issues: we tried, in the Java Language Specification, which I coauthored, to write a description of the memory model implied by the language. While this description turned out to have (fixable) technical problems, it is increasingly clear that we need to think about the memory hierarchy in the design of languages that are intended to work well on the newer system platforms. We view the Java specification as a first step in much good work to be done in the future.

As Chapter 7 describes, storage has evolved from being connected to individual computers to being a separate network resource. This is reminiscent of computer graphics, where graphics processing that was previously done in a host processor often became a separate function as the importance of graphics increased. All this is likely to change radically in the coming years—massively parallel host processors are likely to be able to do graphics better than dedicated outboard graphics units, and new breakthroughs in storage technologies, such as memories made from molecular electronics and other atomic-level nanotechnologies, should greatly reduce both the cost of storage and the access time. The resulting dramatic decreases in storage cost and access time will strongly encourage the use of multiple copies of data stored on individual computing nodes, rather than shared over a network. The "wheel of reincarnation," familiar from graphics, will appear in storage.

Chapter 8 provides a great foundational description of computer interconnects and networks. My model of these comes from Andy Bechtolsheim, another of the cofounders of Sun, who famously said, "Ethernet always wins."More modestly stated: given the need for a new networking interconnect, and despite its shortcomings, adapted versions of the Ethernet protocols seem to have met with overwhelming success in the marketplace. Why? Factors such as the simplicity and familiarity of the protocols are obvious, but quite possibly the most likely reason is that the people who are adapting Ethernet can get on with the job at hand rather than arguing about details that, in the end, aren’t dispositive. This lesson can be generalized to apply to all the areas of computer architecture discussed in this book.

One of the things I remember Dave Patterson saying many years ago is that for each new project you only get so many "cleverness beans." That is, you can be very clever in a few areas of your design, but if you try to be clever in all of them, the design will probably fail to achieve its goals—or even fail to work or to be finished at all. The overriding lesson that I have learned in 20 plus years of working on these kinds of designs is that you must choose what is important and focus on that; true wisdom is to know what to leave out. A deep knowledge of what has gone before is key to this ability.

And you must also choose your assumptions carefully. Many years ago I attended a conference in Hawaii (yes, it was a boondoggle, but read on) where Maurice Wilkes, the legendary computer architect, gave a speech. What he said, paraphrased in my memory, is that good research often consists of assuming something that seems untrue or unlikely today will become true and investigating the consequences of that assumption. And if the unlikely assumption indeed then becomes true in the world, you will have done timely and sometimes, then, even great research! So, for example, the research group at Xerox PARC assumed that everyone would have access to a personal computer with a graphics display connected to others by an internetwork and the ability to print inexpensively using Xerography. How true all this became, and how seminally important their work was!

In our time, and in the field of computer architecture, I think there are a number of assumptions that will become true. Some are not controversial, such as that Moore’s Law is likely to continue for another decade or so and that the complexity of large chip designs is reaching practical limits, often beyond the point of positive returns for additional complexity. More controversially, perhaps, molecular electronics is likely to greatly reduce the cost of storage and probably logic elements as well, optical interconnects will greatly increase the bandwidth and reduce the error rates of interconnects, software will continue to be unreliable because it is so difficult, and security will continue to be important because its absence is so debilitating.

Taking advantage of the strong positive trends detailed in this book and using them to mitigate the negative ones will challenge the next generation of computer architects, to design a range of systems of many shapes and sizes.

Computer architecture design problems are becoming more varied and interesting. Now is an exciting time to be starting out or reacquainting yourself with the latest in this field, and this book is the best place to start. See you in the chips!

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Are you a professional engineer or architect? If you are, then this book is for you! Authors John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson, have done an outstanding job of writing a book that describes the basic principles underlying what will be tomorrow¿s technological developments. Hennessy and Patterson, begin by introducing formulas for energy, static power, dynamic power, integrated circuit costs, reliability, and availability. In addition, the authors discuss advanced optimization caches; as well as, virtual machines, which offer advantages in protection, software management, and hardware management, which plays an important role in cloud computing. They then cover the exploitation of instruction-level parallelism in high-performance processors, including superscalar execution, branch prediction, speculation, dynamic scheduling, and multithreading. The authors then, introduce vector architectures, which acts as a foundation on which to build explanations of multimedia SIMD instruction set extensions and GPUs. The authors explore symmetric and distributed-memory architectures, examining both organizational principles and performance. In addition, the authors introduce bridges and switches, as a complete network system. Finally, they describe the newest topic in computer architecture: warehouse-scale computers. The primary goal of this most excellent book, is to change the way people learn and think about computer architecture. Perhaps more importantly, this book focuses on new platforms: personal mobile devices and warehouse-scale computers, new architectures and multicore and GPUs