Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, Jan 31, 2007
HP Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B01

Computer Architecture is Back
The Berkeley View of the Parallel Computing Research Landscape

Dave Patterson
EECS, UC Berkeley
About the talk:

The sequential processor era is now officially over, as the IT industry has bet its future on multiple processors per chip. The new trend is doubling the number of cores per chip every two years instead the regular doubling of uniprocessor performance. This shift toward increasing parallelism is not a triumphant stride forward based on breakthroughs in novel software and architectures for parallelism; instead, this plunge into parallelism is actually a retreat from even greater challenges that thwart efficient silicon implementation of traditional uniprocessor architectures.

A diverse group of University of California at Berkeley researchers from many backgrounds -- circuit design, computer architecture, massively parallel computing, computer-aided design, embedded hardware and software, programming languages, compilers, scientific programming, and numerical analysis -- met for nearly two years to discuss parallelism from these many angles. This talk and a technical report are the result. (See

We concluded that sneaking up on the problem of parallelism the way industry is planning is likely to fail, and we desperately need a new solution for parallel hardware and software. Here are some of our recommendations:

Now that the IT industry is urgently facing perhaps its greatest challenge in 50 years, and computer architecture is a necessary but not sufficient component to any solution, this talk declares that computer architecture is interesting once again.


Download slides for this presentation in PDF format. An improved translation of the Powerpoint slides was installed 2/6/2007.

About the speaker:

David A. Patterson has been Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley since 1977, after receiving his all his degrees from UCLA. He is one of the pioneers of both RISC and RAID. He co-authored five books, including two on computer architecture with John Hennessy; the fourth edition of their graduate book was released in September. Past chair of the Computer Science Department at U.C. Berkeley and the Computing Research Association (CRA), he was elected President of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for 2004 to 2006 and served on the Information Technology Advisory Committee for the U.S. President (PITAC) from 2003 to 2005.

His work was recognized by education and research awards from ACM (Karlstrom Educator Award, Fellow) and IEEE (Von Neumann Medal, Mulligan Educator Medal, Johnson Information Storage Award, Fellow) and by election to the National Academy of Engineering. In 2005 he shared Japan's Computer & Communication award with Hennessy and was named to the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame. In 2006 he received the Distinguished Service Award from CRA and was elected to both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the National Academy of Sciences.

Contact information:

David A. Patterson
Department of EECS
UC Berkeley
Berkeley CA