Summary and Info
We said the fourth edition of Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach may have been the most significant since the first edition due to the switch to multicore chips. The feedback we received this time was that the book had lost the sharp focus of the first edition, covering everthing equally but without emphasis and context. We’re pretty sure that won’t be said about the fifth edition. We believe most of the excitement is at the extremes in size of computing, with personal mobile devices (PMDs) such as cell phones and tablets as the clients and warehouse-scale computers offering cloud computing as the server.(Observant readers may seen the hint for cloud computing on the cover.) We arestruck by the common theme of these two extremes in cost, performance, andenergy efficiency despite their difference in size. As a result, the running contextthrough each chapter is computing for PMDs and for warehouse scale computers,and Chapter 6 is a brand-new chapter on the latter topic.The other theme is parallelism in all its forms. We first idetify the two types ofapplication-level parallelism in Chapter 1: data-level parallelism (DLP), whicharises because there are many data items that can be operated on at the same time,and task-level parallelism (TLP), which arises because tasks of work are createdthat can operate independently and largely in parallel. We then explain the fourarchitectural styles that exploit DLP and TLP: instruction-level parallelism (ILP)in Chapter 3; vector architectures and graphic processor units (GPUs) in Chapter4, which is a brand-new chapter for this edition; thread-level parallelism inChapter 5; and request-level parallelism (RLP) via warehouse-scale computers inChapter 6, which is also a brand-new chapter for this edition. We moved memoryhierarchy earlier in the book to Chapter 2, and we moved the storage systemschapter to Appendix D. We are particularly proud about Chapter 4, which con-tains the most detailed and clearest explanation of GPUs yet, and Chapter 6,which is the first publication of the most recent details of a Google Warehouse-scale computer.