V22.0436 - Prof. Grishman

Lecture 19: Trends in High-Performance Computer Architecture

Taking advantage of technology improvements

How has the steady progress in integrated circuit technology been translated into improvements in processor performance?

The technology improvements lead to faster transistors and smaller transistors. Faster transistors mean faster clock times. Smaller transistors mean that we can put more transistors on a chip (a Core 2 Duo has about 300M transistors). (Moore's Law -- transistor counts double about every two years.)  What can we do with the increasing number of transistors to improve performance?

All of these techniques can be observed in the progress of x86 implementations: But at some point we approach the limitations of instruction-level parallelism
this limits returns from additional transistors (reductions in CPI).

At the same time we face limitations on clock speed
Together these factors limit overall CPU performance

Next step is multiple cores (several processors on a chip)