Computer Architecture

Updated: 2020-03-21

Notes about computer architecture and hardware.

Computer Architecture

Computer Architecture = microarchitecture + instruction set architecture


A reduced instruction set computer, or RISC, is a computer instruction set that allows a computer's microprocessor to have fewer cycles per instruction (CPI) than a complex instruction set computer (CISC)

  • RISC: a small set of simple and general instructions; CISC: a large set of complex and specialized ones
  • all x86 CPUs are CISC; ARM is RISC

Instruction Set Architecture

  • CISC: Complex Instruction Set Computer
  • RISC: Reduced Instruction Set Computer, simplifies the processor by efficiently implementing only the instructions that are frequently used in programs


FPGA: Field-programmable gate arrays.

  • Programmable logic blocks and programmable interconnects allow the same FPGA to be used in many different applications.
  • For prototypes, smaller designs or lower production volumes, FPGAs may be more cost effective than an ASIC design, even in production.

Quantum Computing