Computer Architecture Today

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After 2 years of being virtual, computer architects eagerly came down to New York City for the first in-person ISCA since 2019. Enrollment reached record numbers, with 977 registrants as of the first day of the conference. Almost half of the registrants were students, while 231 were remote (reflecting the realities of life post-Covid), and 87 were workshop-only registrants.

The conference organisers (led by general chairs Mohamed Zahran and Valentina Salapura) worked diligently to support the functioning of the conference despite challenges in preparation, including the closure of the intended conference venue less than 4 months before the conference. The PC chair and vice-chair (Fred Chong and Lingjia Tang respectively) put together a diverse and jam-packed conference program, with many innovative papers that sparked a good deal of discussion. There were three sessions on novel architectures, a tally bettered only by the four sessions that dealt with security. The conference also included three keynotes and two panel discussions. The Tuesday excursion, meanwhile, was a sightseeing cruise that included views of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty.

Workshops and Tutorials

ISCA 2022 kicked off with two packed days of workshops and tutorials on the weekend before the main conference, organised by Workshop Chair Yasuko Eckert and Tutorials Chair Sergey Blagodurov. There were no fewer than 13 workshops and 9 tutorials over the two days. The Saturday tutorials covered FireSim, Chipyard, High-Performance ML, gem5 and the NVMExplorer design space exploration framework. Concurrently, the Saturday workshops covered a diverse range of topics, including gem5, multi-model DNN workloads, quantum research estimation, open-source architecture research, accelerators for computational biology, digital superconducting computing, and DRAM security. Also on Saturday was the 4th Undergraduate Architecture Mentoring Workshop, which is designed to introduce undergraduate and early Master’s students to computer architecture research while also coaching them on how to approach and navigate graduate school.

On Sunday, ISCA tutorials covered microarchitectural attacks and defences, the Instruction-Level Abstraction (ILA) hardware/software interface, quantum benchmarking, accelerating architecture simulations, and the ASTRA-sim distributed training simulator. The Sunday workshops, on the other hand, focused on superconductive computation, ML for architecture and systems, challenges and techniques for combating hotspots on chips, RISC-V, and high-performance chiplet and interconnect architectures.


The ISCA awards banquet on Tuesday was the venue for the unveiling of a number of highly-anticipated awards. The ISCA Influential paper Award went to “Power Provisioning for a Warehouse-sized Computer” by Xiaobo Fan, Wolf-Dietrich Weber, and Luiz André Barroso from ISCA 2007. Sophia Shao received the Young Computer Architect Award. The Outstanding Dissertation Award went to Prakash Murali, with an Honorable Mention to Akshitha Sriraman. Kathryn McKinley received the Alan D. Berenbaum Distinguished Service Award for her efforts in improving DEI and mitigating harassment and discrimination in our community (including her work on SIGARCH CARES). Mark Horowitz received the Eckert-Mauchly Award and Moin Qureshi the Maurice Wilkes Award, each for their contributions to memory systems.

This ISCA also contained the inaugural ISCA Best Paper Award, created by Moin Qureshi and Natalie Enright Jerger following a proposal from Moin. The best paper nominees covered a diverse set of topics, including renaming non-volatile memory addresses to prevent idempotency violations, the high-performance implementation of atomic memory operations, a combined hardware-software bounds-checking mechanism to improve GPU memory safety, the programmable handling of cache events such as misses and writebacks to provide optimized data movement, and even a novel training framework for variational quantum algorithms. The Best Paper Award ultimately went to “NvMR: Non-Volatile Memory Renaming for Intermittent Computing” by Abhishek Bhattacharyya, Abhijith Somashekhar, and Joshua San Miguel.

Keynotes and Panels

The conference had three keynotes, on topics ranging from extended reality (XR) to trusted computing. The first, on Monday, was from Sarita Adve, on what she called the dawn of a new immersive era in computing made possible by extended reality (XR) systems. The Tuesday keynote was by Ken Brown, where he discussed the use of quantum error correction to build reliable quantum computers – both in the current quantum landscape and for future large quantum computers. The final keynote on Wednesday was by Kris Flautner. It dealt with trust in computing, and covered topics such as credentials, identity, and privacy through this lens.

ISCA this year also had not one but two panels. The first panel was on Sunday evening at the start of the conference, and was co-located with its welcome reception. It covered issues involved with system and hardware design at scale, and included both academic and industry perspectives. Babak Falsafi and Margaret Martonosi represented the academic point of view, and Hsien-Hsin Sean Lee, Bobbie Manne, and Partha Ranganathan presented the industry perspective. The panel was moderated by Samira Khan. Points raised by the panel included a need to broaden architecture research beyond CPU-centric work, as well as NSF initiatives to help research at scale.

The second panel (at lunch on Monday) was on Silent Data Corruptions (SDCs) in today’s processors. Here, Caroline Trippel and Shawn Blanton provided the academic viewpoint, while Sriram Sankar, Rama Govindaraju, Ronak Singhal, and Sudhanva Gurumurthi spoke for industry. Points discussed by the panel included the increased prevalence of SDCs in today’s processors as well as potential mitigation strategies for them.

Business Meeting

The program committee selected 67 out of 403 submissions. The top 3 topics tackled by submissions were accelerators & application-specific architectures, acceleration for ML & AI, and hardware/software co-design. The conference also included an industrial track whose program chair was Lisa Hsu. The industrial track had a modified reviewing process based on allotment voting that was made possible in part by its small number of submissions.

Other announcements at the business meeting included the unveiling of the CALM long-term mentoring program by CASA for the architecture community, as well as the consideration of artifact evaluation for ISCA in the future. ISCA 2023 was officially announced for June 17-21 in Orlando, FL, and is intended to have a full 3-day main program. ISCA 2024, meanwhile, was announced for Buenos Aires – the first time ISCA will be hosted in Latin America.

About the Author: Yatin A. Manerkar is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Division at the University of Michigan. His research develops automated formal methodologies and tools for the design and verification of computing systems.

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.