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Evolution of Computer Technology

In: Computers and Technology

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Evolution of Computer Technology
Catherine L. Dean
2142CMIS3106380
March 9, 2014

Table of Contents I. Introduction 3 II. Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) 3 III. Pipelining 3 IV. Cache Memory 4 V. Virtual Memory 4 VI. Conclusion 5 VII. Works Cited 5

I. Introduction
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the evolution of and current trends in improving system performance with respect to RISC, pipelining, cache memory, and virtual memory. II. Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC)
Reduced Instruction Set Computing also known as RISC is a type of microprocessor architecture. It is a CPU design strategy. The purpose of RISC was for design simplification. It increases the number of executed instructions thus increasing the CPU performance. (Joy)
The RISC design was first proposed and implemented in the 1960s and has been constantly evolving. Since the late 1980’s, RISC has been more than doubling its performance every year and half. The RISC industry, which includes IBM and Sun Microsystems, is ever expanding with the focus on the speed of executing instructions per second along with the evolution of the computer industry. (Joy) III. Pipelining
One characteristic of RISC processors is pipelining. With pipelining, instructions are able to be executed in a shorter period of time. The first step in pipelining is to find the instructions, then read the registers, decode the instructions, execute the instruction, access the data memory operands, and then load the results into the register. There are three different types of pipelines: graphic pipelines, instruction pipelines, and software pipelines. (Martin)
Pipeline processors first started being designed in the 1980’s by IBM. In the late 1980’s pipeline processors were development with a parallel programming concept. This concept allows tasks to be executed in parallel. Pipeline processing continues to evolve. (Martin)

IV. Cache Memory
A computer’s internal memory is known as its cache memory. Maurice Wilkes came up with the idea of cache memory in 1965 with the purpose of solving the speed gap between the CPU and memory. (Stockill, 2009) Cache memory stores the commands required to run programs. It also stores temporary data that the CPU frequently uses and data that is currently being executed. This improves the system’s speed. The access time of the cache memory is very close to that of the CPU processing speed. There are a few different types of caching algorithms, which vary in speed, scan resistance, and use. They are First In First Out (FIFO), Least Recently Used (LRU), Least Recently Used Twice (LRU2), Least Frequently Used (LFU), and Two Queues (2Q). (Stockill, 2009)
There are many techniques used today in advancing cache memory technology, such as Phase-Change RAM, Embedded DRAM, and Magnetic RAM. (Stockill, 2009) These technologies provide increased power and performance in the design of cache memory. (Stockill, 2009)

V. Virtual Memory
Virtual memory is part of the system where there is memory space for a process to use which is separate from other running processes on the system. Virtual memory is very similar to RAM, but can be accessed much faster. Virtual memory stores temporary data that is used frequently, as well as data that is currently being executed. (George Mason University)
The concept of virtual memory was first invented by the University of Manchester’s Atlas Team in 1959. (George Mason University) By the mid 1980’s a system was developed by Microsoft and IBM based on virtual memory. (George Mason University) VI. Conclusion
One of the biggest, most exciting technological advances of the era is the microprocessor evolution. There is a much more technologically advanced future with the continued improvements of the microprocessor. As previously discussed in this paper, the computer system has continued to evolve year after year. What was once a low performance, limited availability system has now evolved into a high performance, high availability system, and as time continues so will the development of new and improved technologies. With improved performance of pipelined processors, RISC, parallel processing, and memory, computers will become faster and be available at a more affordable cost. Already the cost of computers today are cheaper than they were decades ago, and this is due to the technological advances and improved performance.

VII. Works Cited
George Mason University. (n.d.). Virtual Memory History. Retrieved March 8, 2014, from The Core of Information Technology: http://www.cs.gmu.edu/cne/itcore/virtualmemory/vmhistory.html
Joy, W. N. (n.d.). Computer Research Association. Retrieved March 6, 2014, from Academic/Industrial Interplay Drives Computer Performance Forward: http://homes.cs.washington.edu/~lazowska/cra/risc.html
Martin, M. (n.d.). Unit 6: Pipelining. Retrieved March 6, 2014, from Computer Architecture: http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~milom/cis501-Fall05/lectures/06_pipeline.pdf
Stockill, T. (2009). History of Computer Cache Memory. Retrieved March 7, 2014, from Computers and Technology Knowledge: http://computers-technology-knowledge.blogspot.in/2009/01/history-of-computer-cache-memory-part-2.html

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