Although the desktop is largely an after-thought market of modern computer companies, many computer architects conceptualize modern computers as essentially a miniaturized desktop with some attached I/O widgets. In that computer, we take an ISA-centric definition that takes us back to the halcyon days of the RISC/CISC wars. Servers are x86 and run Linux. Mobile devices are ARM and run iOS/Android. But our emerging applications do not run on a single machine on our desk. A single application executes across many machines of diverse types that are strategically positioned across the planet. It is no longer appropriate to characterize them by what ISA or operating system is used. It is time that we update our mental model of the architecture of the computer that these applications run on today.
Editor: Alvin R. Lebeck
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