Want to win a PS4? Go Premium and enter to win our High-Tech Treats giveaway. Enter to Win


Can someone explain in details what is Computer architecture?

Posted on 2011-03-03
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-22
Hello Expert I have been searching to know about Computer architecture, how it works and what kind of architecture are we using these days but in a layman man term if possible or at least in an easy way pls , no wiki , I did got there . Also if possible advantages  and disadvantages if possible . thks alot
Question by:hnael
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 2
  • 2

Expert Comment

ID: 35030555
This is a tricky question not knowing at what level you mean.  At one level, it means the way in which the computer's Central Processing Unit (CPU) communicates with memory and peripherals.  A deeper level is the way in which the CPU is designed.  There are other levels.

I'd rather focus on the level that's important to you and do the best job at that.

Author Comment

ID: 35030860
Ok can u explain both pls and I will decide. Thnx

Accepted Solution

korz earned 1000 total points
ID: 35033048
Well, it's not both, but many.  For example two general CPU computer architectures are Register Machines versus Stack Machines.  In a Register Machine, the data being operated on is read from some kind of mass storage and stored temporarily in uniquely addressable registers.  Operands might add register A to register B and put the result in register X.  In contrast, a Stack Machine operates on stacks of data.  You push the data onto one or more stacks, and then you select operands such as "add stack A" which pops the top two elements from stack A, adds them together and pushes the result back onto stack A.  A stack machine is more efficient in terms of code density (you get more done with less code) for *certain* kinds of applications.  A Register Computer is more efficient for other kinds of applications.

At another level are the Von-Neumann Architecture vs. the Harvard Architecture.  In the Von-Neumann architecture, you have a Control Unit, Memory, and an Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU).  The Control Unit mediates all the fetching and storing of data and the ALU not only performs the operations, but also is where the Input and Output are handled.  The Harvard Architecture, in contrast, allows for data and instructions to be read and written on separate data paths (buses).

Then there's RISC (reduced instruction set) versus CISC (complex instruction set) architectures.  RISC is generally agreed to be faster as it optimizes a smaller number of nimble operations.  It also allows for simpler, faster compilers.

Then there's multithreading (big pile of data, let's say an image, split up into a bunch of small piles, each of which is processed simultaneously), pipelined processing (data is pushed into a long series of processing steps so that you don't wait for one piece of data to be processed before the next piece is pushed in), and integrated memory controllers (where the CPU has the memory controller onboard, rather than have it as a separate Memory Management Unit chip).

Modern computers have a modified Harvard architecture with a ton of other architectural features, for example, most now have multithreading.  All are Register Machines and the majority are RISC.

I took a 16-week course at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Computer Architecture as part of my Masters degree and that was 25 years ago, long before 3/4 of the current technologies.  So, I've only given a very brief description of some of the major architectural differences... maybe that's all you needed...

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35035884

Featured Post

Concerto Cloud for Software Providers & ISVs

Can Concerto Cloud Services help you focus on evolving your application offerings, while delivering the best cloud experience to your customers? From DevOps to revenue models and customer support, the answer is yes!

Learn how Concerto can help you.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Moving your enterprise fax infrastructure from in-house fax machines and servers to the cloud makes sense — from both an efficiency and productivity standpoint. But does migrating to a cloud fax solution mean you will no longer be able to send or re…
What do we know about Legacy Video Conferencing? - Full IT support needed! - Complicated systems at outrageous prices! - Intense training required! Highfive believes we need to embrace a new alternative.
This is used to tweak the memory usage for your computer, it is used for servers more so than workstations but just be careful editing registry settings as it may cause irreversible results. I hold no responsibility for anything you do to the regist…
Hi friends,  in this video  I'll show you how new windows 10 user can learn the using of windows 10. Thank you.

610 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question