Patterson Says It’s Time for New Architectures and Software Languages

by Tekla S. Perry,   IEEE Spectrum

University of California’s David Patterson, also a RISC pioneer and Google engineer, says Moore’s Law is over and computer architecture is on the cusp of a new era.

Patterson, who served as ACM President from 2004 to 2006 and was co-recipient of the 2017 ACM A.M. Turing Award, said, “Revolutionary new hardware architectures and new software languages, tailored to dealing with specific kinds of computing problems, are just waiting to be developed. There are Turing Awards waiting to be picked up if people would just work on these things.”

In software, for example, Patterson says rewriting Python into C can increase performance 50-fold, and optimization techniques can boost speed even further. He believes it would be feasible “to make an improvement of a factor of 1,000 in Python.”

Applications do not all require the same level of computing accuracy, he says, adding that some could use lower-precision floating-point arithmetic instead of the commonly used IEEE 754 standard. Machine learning, he says, is “ravenous for computing” and offers the greatest area of opportunity for applying new architectures and languages. “This is a golden age for computer architecture,” Patterson says.  Read the article.

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