Reading Assignment and Discussion Topics
Computer Science 471

for class on Thursday Oct. 17, 1996

Please read Chapter 2 of the Patterson & Hennessy text, and be prepared to discuss the following issues:

1. The expression of execution time as the product of number of instructions, average CPI, and cycle time is fundamental to the correct analysis and understanding of uniprocessor performance. It would be great if the various contributors to performance (like architectural features, technology, and so on) only affected one term in this product. But usually they affect two terms, sometimes increasing or decreasing both, but often making one go up and another down. Trade-offs result. What things affect what terms in which way? Consider:

and don't forget, for a given problem, Please come up with some examples of the influence of each of these factors on terms in the product.

2. ``At a certain point, everyone understands the benefits of RISC over CISC,'' says an advertisement that appeared in Electronic News of September 1994. Here are links to the first page and the second page of the ad. What do you think of the technical contents of the ad?