“Packet Networks are not Socket Science” – Computer and System Architecture Unraveled Event Two
Observations from Uppsala » Computer Architecture
by Jakob
3M ago
On Wednesday, November 22, we had our second CaSA, Computer and System Architecture Unraveled, meetup. Same place in Kista as the last time, the 25th floor of the Kista Science Tower building, thanks to the kind sponsorship of Vasakronan and our collaboration with Kista Science City. This time, the theme was networking – but not ..read more
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The first Computer and System Architecture Unraveled Event in Kista – Great Speakers, Great Fun!
Observations from Uppsala » Computer Architecture
by Jakob
5M ago
This past Wednesday evening we had our first CaSA, Computer and System Architecture Unraveled, event. CaSA is a meetup in Kista (Sweden) for people interested in computer architecture, system architecture, and how software and hardware interact down towards the lower levels of the stack. The topic for the inaugural event was Core Count Explosion: A ..read more
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SystemC Evolution Fika: Parallel SystemC
Observations from Uppsala » Computer Architecture
by Jakob
1y ago
The SystemC Evolution Fika on April 7 had threading/parallelism as its theme. There were four speakers who presented various angles on how to parallelize SystemC models. The presentations and following discussion provided a variety of perspectives on threading as it can be applied in virtual platforms and other computer architecture simulations. It was pretty clear that the presenters and audience had quite different ideas about just what the target domain looks like and the best way to introduce parallelism to SystemC. Here is my take on what was said. The Event The SystemC Evolution Fika co ..read more
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Some Notes on Temporal Decoupling (Reposted)
Observations from Uppsala » Computer Architecture
by Jakob
1y ago
This blog post was originally posted at Intel back in 2018, but it has since been retired from the Intel blog system. As it is of general interest (in my opinion), here is a reposting (with a few small updates here and there). Temporal decoupling is a key technology in virtual platforms, and can speed up the execution of a system by several orders of magnitude. In my own experiments, I have seen it provide a speedup of more than 1000x. Here, I will dig a little deeper into temporal decoupling and its semantic effects. Making a fast virtual platform Performance is critical for virtual platforms ..read more
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Don’t Look behind the Curtain! (Please)
Observations from Uppsala » Computer Architecture
by Jakob
1y ago
In a previous blog, I talked a bit about the hazards of coding to an implementation and not a specification, based on 1980s home computers. While the specifics and peculiarities of that case is hopefully confined to old hardware, the lessons are still worth contemplating. There is a modern variant of this phenomenon that is based on open-source software, and that I must admit to feeling a bit annoyed by. Fundamentally, the question is this: when figuring out how to use an API – should you look at the documentation or the implementation? Software APIs A software API is (as we all know) is an in ..read more
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Easy to Assemble, just like Lego – Right…
Observations from Uppsala » Computer Architecture
by Jakob
1y ago
When discussing the design and integration of systems on chip and models of systems on chip, the Lego analogy is often brought up. The idea being that with Lego, anyone can put together anything and every component can be combined with all other components. Right. My recent building of Lego set 21327, Typewriter, makes me wonder if the people who talk about Lego-like construction have actually built anything from Legos in the past few decades. Starting with Duplo I think the concept of Lego being easy to build is well-matched by the wonderful world of Lego Duplo. A three-year-old can build so ..read more
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Code to the Spec(trum) or the Implementation
Observations from Uppsala » Computer Architecture
by Jakob
1y ago
When writing software that uses any kind of API or hardware functionality, sooner or later there will be questions about what a particular API call or hardware operation is supposed to do. In principle, such questions should be answered by referring to the specification (and user documentation). I am a firm believer in writing readable and clear specs and keeping software coding to follow the spec, as that ensures future compatibility. But reality is not that simple. Things are generally better today than they used to be, though. Reading up a bit on the history of my first computer (the ZX Sp ..read more
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Timesharing System Design Concepts (1970)
Observations from Uppsala » Computer Architecture
by Jakob
1y ago
When I recently turned 50, a friend of mine gave me a book that was about as old as me – Timesharing System Design Concepts, by Richard W Watson. The copyright date is 1970, but the publishing date found online 1971. The book covers the hardware support and software techniques needed to provide multiple users with simultaneous access to a computer system. Typically, using remote teletype terminals. It is a wonderful book, reflecting on the state of computer technology around 1970. It shows both how many of the basic concepts we still use today were already in use back then, but at the same tim ..read more
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The SAMOS XXI Conference (Virtual)
Observations from Uppsala » Computer Architecture
by Jakob
1y ago
The International Conference on Embedded Computer Systems: Architectures, Modeling and Simulation (SAMOS) XXI conference took place a couple of weeks ago. Like all other events in the past 18 months, it was virtual due to Covid-19. For more on the background on the SAMOS conference, see my blog post about SAMOS XIX (from 2019). This year, I presented a tutorial about our public release of the Simics simulator and took the chance to listen to most of the other conference talks. Gather.Town virtual conference system In 2020, SAMOS was a series of videos on Youtube. Not ideal, but the best that ..read more
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USB-C Works, but how would you Know?
Observations from Uppsala » Computer Architecture
by Jakob
1y ago
Using USB-C to charge a laptop while simultaneously providing display and other IO traffic sounds a little bit too good to be true in practice.  Maybe it would work for a set of devices from a single manufacturer (like a Thunderbolt-based USB-C-attached dock from the same vendor as a laptop). However, recently I was surprised (in a good way) when it turned out that I had accidentally got myself a USB-C-based single-cable-to-the-laptop setup. USB-C promises a lot, in this case it delivers perfectly, but what bothers me is the fact that there is really no way I could have figured this out ..read more
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