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Micro, IEEE

Issue 3 • Date May-June 2005

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Displaying Results 1 - 14 of 14
  • [Front cover]

    Page(s): c1
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Table of contents

    Page(s): 2 - 3
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Masthead

    Page(s): 4
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Integrated microarchitectures

    Page(s): 5 - 6
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    Trends in CMOS technology point to an era of high-performance microprocessor design in which problems such as power consumption and cooling, deviceand chip-level variability, and hard and soft errors threaten to slow down historically established performance growth rates. View full abstract»

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  • The antitrust ghost in the standard-setting machine [IEEE standards and RAND licensing]

    Page(s): 7 - 9
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    It is the policy of the IEEE and many other standard-setting organizations to request that any patented technology incorporated into a technical standard be made available to all users of the standard on reasonable and nondiscriminatory (RAND) terms. By the same token, such organizations typically require that participants engaged in formulating a standard disclose whether the proposed standard's use would infringe patents that their companies own. They must also disclose whether such patents will be subject to RAND licensing. View full abstract»

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  • The anatomy of foresight traps [foresight management]

    Page(s): 10 - 12
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    No companies ever escape foresight traps. Foresight traps are inevitable because the ingredients for them are everywhere. Every trap has a technical or commercial surprise as part of the explanation. A new environment raises unfamiliar issues with established firms. Managing uncertainty often generates conflicts within a firm. Foresight traps can arise when managers let conflict interfere with their assessment of a competitive situation. An overconfident executive can make matters worse. Good firms do their best to save confident executives from their worst instincts. These firms collect information from a variety of sources, think hard about what their rivals perceive, and spend resources guarding against outcomes that might or might not arise. View full abstract»

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  • Microprocessor design issues: thoughts on the road ahead

    Page(s): 16 - 31
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    With the scaling of technology promising increases in chip frequency and especially transistor density, system designers must make trade-offs for a rapidly moving target. They must constantly deal with area, time, power, reliability, and technology design trade-offs as well as enormous design complexity at the same time. The driving force in design innovation is the rapid advance in technology. As technology advances and feature size shrinks, the three other design considerations benefit from one process generation to another, resulting in higher speed, smaller area, and reduced power consumption. Here, we look at the technology roadmap and what it means to computer architects, updating our views of six years ago. View full abstract»

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  • High-performance throughput computing

    Page(s): 32 - 45
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    CMT processors offer a way to significantly improve the performance of computer systems. The return on investment for multithreading is among the highest in computer microarchitectural techniques. If you design a core from scratch to support multithreading, gains as high as 3× are possible for just a 20 percent increase in area. Even with throughput performance as the main target, we have shown that the microarchitecture necessary to support threads on a CMT can also achieve high single-thread performance. Hardware scouting, which Sun is implementing on the Rock microprocessor, can increase the single-thread performance of applications by up to 40 percent. Alternatively, scouting is a technique that makes the on-chip caches appear much larger, performance robustness technique, making up for code tailored for different on-chip cache sizes or even a different number and levels of caches. View full abstract»

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  • Kilo-instruction processors: overcoming the memory wall

    Page(s): 48 - 57
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    Historically, advances in integrated circuit technology have driven improvements in processor microarchitecture and led to todays microprocessors with sophisticated pipelines operating at very high clock frequencies. However, performance improvements achievable by high-frequency microprocessors have become seriously limited by main-memory access latencies because main-memory speeds have improved at a much slower pace than microprocessor speeds. Its crucial to deal with this performance disparity, commonly known as the memory wall, to enable future high-frequency microprocessors to achieve their performance potential. To overcome the memory wall, we propose kilo-instruction processors-superscalar processors that can maintain a thousand or more simultaneous in-flight instructions. Doing so means designing key hardware structures so that the processor can satisfy the high resource requirements without significantly decreasing processor efficiency or increasing energy consumption. View full abstract»

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  • Computer architecture: challenges and opportunities for the next decade

    Page(s): 58 - 69
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    Computer architecture forms the bridge between application needs and the capabilities of the underlying technologies. As application demands change and technologies cross various thresholds, computer architects must continue innovating to produce systems that can deliver needed performance and cost effectiveness. Our challenge as computer architects is to deliver end-to-end performance growth at historical levels in the presence of technology discontinuities. We can address this challenge by focusing on power optimization at all levels. Key levers are the development of power-optimized building blocks, deployment of chip-level multiprocessors, increasing use of accelerators and offload engines, widespread use of scale-out systems, and system-level power optimization. View full abstract»

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  • Lifetime reliability: toward an architectural solution

    Page(s): 70 - 80
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    Developing and maintaining industrywide standards for lifetime reliability is a critical task for all microprocessor manufacturers. Although technology scaling continues to provide significant performance benefits, increasingly smaller feature sizes and increasing power densities are accelerating the onset of wearout-based failures, thus shortening processor life. Microarchitects have traditionally treated processor lifetime reliability as a manufacturing problem, best left to device and process engineers. In current processors, manufacturers enforce lifetime reliability, or qualify it, during device design, circuit layout, manufacture, and chip test. This reliability qualification, which is application-oblivious, is based on estimates of worst case temperature and processor utilization. However, most applications will run at lower temperature and utilization, resulting in higher reliability and longer processor lifetimes than required. As a result, current reliability qualification methodologies are overly conservative, unnecessarily increasing cost or decreasing performance. Sustaining this approach will likely be infeasible in future scaled systems. View full abstract»

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  • MP3 optimization exploiting processor architecture and using better algorithms

    Page(s): 81 - 92
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    For all applications, execution time depends on the executing processors architecture and clock frequency, the computational complexity (number of operations) of the algorithms used in the program, the compiler, and the programmer's skill. But how much influence do these factors exert on overall performance? In this article, we compare the performance of diverse MP3 decoder implementations that cover various levels and types of optimizations. Our goal is to illustrate the influence of these factors on performance. View full abstract»

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  • Inventions and the creative process

    Page(s): 96 - 95
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    Patents and inventions, while related (in that the former describes the latter), are orthogonal instruments. A patent is merely a legal document that entitles its bearer to an argument. Although it might contain an invention, this isn’t absolutely necessary. Whether it does is generally the subject of the (aforementioned) argument. That’s what lawyers are for. On the other hand, an invention is an abstract instrument created by the mind, and in the (nascent) information age, machines can also create. View full abstract»

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High-quality technical articles from designers, systems integrators, and users discussing the design, performance, or application of microcomputer and microprocessor systems.

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Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief
Erik R. Altman
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center