Computer architecture is a highly complex field of scientific endeavors and consists of multiple subcategories. It can be defined as the science of analyzing, designing and building computer systems. This science informs engineers and designers on how to construct a high performing computer that performs meaningful tasks with the highest efficiency possible. As technological progress continues, computer architectures evolve and become more and more complex. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look into the different subcategories of computer architecture and their importance in the industry.
What is Computer Architecture?
Computer architecture is the study of how computer systems are structured. It takes into consideration the trade-off between computational performance, power-efficiency, cost, and size. It also requires the analysis of digital logic and physical implementation of computation. Power efficiency is a key factor in this field since energy is needed to perform any task. As technology further advances, new computer architectures that enable low-power operation are becoming more important.
Types of Computer Architecture
The following are the different subcategories of computer architecture: Von Neumann, Harvard, Reduced Instruction Set Computing, and Complex Instruction Set Computing. Each architecture has its own strengths, drawbacks and applications.
Von Neumann Architecture
The Von Neumann architecture is the most popular and widely used computer architecture in the world. It is based on the ideas of mathematician and computer scientist John Von Neumann and is a roadmap for developers to build a computer from low-level hardware components. It consists of five components: the processor (CPU), memory, the control unit, the input/output (I/O) devices, and the bus. This architecture is utilized in all computers and many mobile devices. It makes use of algorithms and instructions to allow the computer to perform its tasks.
Harvard architecture is named after the Harvard University and is mainly used in applications requiring quick access to some specific data. The Harvard architecture separates program and data memory, allowing simultaneous access to both types of memory and faster data access. Additionally, the Harvard architecture allows for possible parallelism in instruction execution and data stream processing, making the computer faster and more efficient. It is mainly used in embedded systems and specialized processors.
Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC)
RISC architecture is a simplified version of Von Neumann architecture that uses simple instruction sets and is mainly aimed at reducing power consumption and increasing processing speed. This architecture requires fewer transistors, which makes it cheaper and easier to manufacture and also enables faster read/write operations. The most popular example of this architecture is ARM processor used in many mobile devices.
Complex Instruction Set Computing (CISC)
CISC architecture is the opposite of RISC and is a more complex type of architecture that requires more transistors. The idea behind this architecture is to optimize instruction execution and create higher performance computers. It performs more complex calculation and supports additional functions, such as looping and string manipulation. CISC architecture is mainly used in desktops and high-performance computers.
Computer architecture plays a very important role in the design of computers and in the advancement of technology. By understanding the different types of computer architecture, computer engineers and designers can develop more efficient and cost-effective computers. The different subcategories of computer architecture can be used to create different types of computer systems, each one with its own advantages and drawbacks. Moreover, computer architects are always looking for ways to improve computing performance and create energy-efficient computers.
Computer architecture is a highly complex field of study. As technology progresses, new architectures are developed to increase performance and make computing more efficient. The different subcategories of computer architecture, such as Harvard, Von Neumann, RISC and CISC architectures, are all very important in the design of computers and their performance. By understanding and applying the different computer architectures, computer engineers can create the most efficient and powerful computer systems.