Computer Architecture Today

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

Figure 1: Topics from 2017

The Year in Review

The new year is upon us and it’s time to reflect on 2017 and to look ahead for 2018.  We launched Computer Architecture Today with our first Welcome post on March 19, 2017.  Since launch there have been 44 posts from 22 contributors, both our regular bloggers and ad hoc posts.  I’d like to thank all the authors for their contributions. Topics include several posts on technical directions in the broad field (OS, security, non-volatile memory, databases, machine learning), summaries of conferences or workshops and opinions about the review process, and diversity in computer architecture. Figure 1 shows a word cloud for post all topic tags to date.

A concern when launching any blog is sustaining the rate of posts, and by all measures this blog is off to a good start.  The enthusiasm and commitment of the community for disseminating relevant and timely information to the broader computing computing has been phenomenal. As editor, I deeply appreciate the time and energy the contributors put into each post, and I’m sure the blog readers appreciate it as well.

Our top three posts, in terms of views, were Leave your OS at home: the rise of library operating systems by Mark Silberstein with 21,262 views, The Unreasonable Ineffectiveness of Machine Learning in Computer Systems Research by Keshav Pingali with 16,070 views, and Blockchains Considered Harmful: Is Brute-Force Processing Replacing Good Design? by Tilman Wolf with 7,792 views.  These and a few other posts generated lots of discussions on other social media sites.

The Year Ahead

Our goal for 2018 is to sustain, if not increase, blog activity by 1) engaging with more events to obtain summaries, 2) soliciting more ad hoc contributions, and 3) continually expanding or refreshing the periodic topics covered.  To this end, I welcome Vijay Janapa Reddi as Associate Blog Editor. Vijay will help with conference and workshop summaries, ad hoc posts and other general activities.  We also welcome two new regular contributors: Spyros Blanas will write about databases and computer architecture (replacing Jignesh Patel) and Fred Chong will enlighten us about quantum computing.

2018 introduced the world to the complexities of computer architecture with the revelation of two new hardware design flaws that pose significant security risks.  Simha’s posts were particularly prescient, and his recent post consolidates links to his earlier posts, meanwhile Mark Hill recently provided a good summary of the issue in a CCC Blog post. The societal impact of computer architecture has never been more clear.

What will the remainder of the year have in store for our community? Stay tuned to Computer Architecture Today to find out.  If you have thoughts, opinions or advice about the broad field of computer architecture, consider contributing, just click here to submit a proposal for a topic.  Remember, we have a “big tent” approach for this blog and welcome a diverse, broad set of opinions and topics.

Have a Happy New Year!

About the Author: Alvin R. Lebeck is Professor Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University.  His research spans atoms to applications.