Computer Architecture Today

Informing the broad computing community about current activities, advances and future directions in computer architecture.

The past year has certainly been eventful.  Hopefully, there were a few “victories” along the way  — surprising (and not so surprising) research results, accepted papers/proposals, qualifier defenses, graduations, chip tapeouts, and product releases. No doubt, it’s been a slog without being able to share coffees, beers, ping-pong beatdowns, and whiteboard arguments with labmates.  And while things have often looked bleak — especially as we brood over our unforgiving ISCA reviews — one hopes that an upswing is right around the corner.  It has been disheartening (to put it mildly) to witness the multiple reports of professional misconduct and (more broadly) racial injustice; we hope we can all re-commit to being better stewards of the field, vigilant mentors, and thoughtful allies. 

For many of us, this may have felt like an unproductive year, a feeling amplified by the forced isolation.  It’s been comforting to remind ourselves of wise words uttered by sane colleagues — “research is a marathon and it sometimes takes years to nudge the sampling of weak-rejects and weak-accepts into a sampling of weak-accepts and accepts”.  Or the wise words of other more cynical colleagues — “I write a good paper like once every five years.”

Against this backdrop, it must be underlined how grateful we are to our colleagues who took time out of their insane schedules to contribute thought-provoking articles to Computer Architecture Today. Thanks, as always, for keeping the blog a vibrant hub for technical and policy discussions. Fifty articles were published in 2020, and the following topic areas saw the highest engagement: datacenters, storage, and ML acceleration. It was especially helpful to have several articles discussing perspectives as we moved to virtual meetings. We also look forward to upcoming discussions that may guide us towards best practices for reviewing, mentoring, and conferences.  

As always, we welcome a range of perspectives in our blog articles. Please submit article suggestions here. We especially encourage blog contributions from students — even if you feel that your contribution may be half-baked, the editors and the student leaders of CASA can help you with feedback. Note that blog articles are intended to educate readers about the landscape of problems and solutions in an area, and not just describe work from one group. Other author guidelines are listed here.

News from the past year in case you missed it: (i) For helping launch this blog, Prof. Alvy Lebeck received the 2020 Alan D. Berenbaum Distinguished Service Award — congrats Alvy on a well-deserved recognition! (ii) Prof. Christina Delimitrou of Cornell has taken over as Associate Editor for the blog. We thank Prof. Vijay Janapa Reddi for nearly three years of service as Associate Editor!  

Every year, we refresh the team of regular contributors. Prof. Spyros Blanas is rotating out of the team this year — thanks, Spyros, for the many illuminating articles at the intersection of hardware, storage, and databases!  Seven new members have joined the team of regular contributors — welcome Shaizeen, Nathan, Jana, Brandon, Tim, Phillip, Yuhao.  The full team is:

Looking forward to a productive and uplifting 2021!

About the Authors: Rajeev Balasubramonian is CAT Editor and Professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah.  Christina Delimitrou is CAT Associate Editor and Assistant Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University.

Disclaimer: These posts are written by individual contributors to share their thoughts on the Computer Architecture Today blog for the benefit of the community. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal, belong solely to the blog author and do not represent those of ACM SIGARCH or its parent organization, ACM.