BEE3: Revitalizing Computer Architecture Research

Date Added: May 2009
Format: PDF

In recent years, advances in computer architecture have slowed dramatically with most simulation results demonstrating only incremental architectural innovation. This is further exacerbated by increased processor and system complexity spurred by a seemingly unlimited number of transistors at computer architect's disposal. Computer architects produce a myopic view of their systems through the lens of slow, highly-detailed software simulation or fast, coarse-grained software simulation, with fidelity always in question. By leveraging silicon technology scaling in Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), hardware can be used to accelerate simulation, emulation, or prototyping of systems. Furthermore, because the base components are reconfigurable, the same system can be used for a variety of research projects, amortizing the cost, both in dollars and in learning time.