Articles

Microprocessors: From Desktops to Supercomputers

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Science  13 Aug 1993:
Vol. 261, Issue 5123, pp. 864-871
DOI: 10.1126/science.261.5123.864

Abstract

Continuing improvements in integrated circuit technology and computer architecture have driven microprocessors to performance levels that rival those of supercomputers—at a fraction of the price. The use of sophisticated memory hierarchies enables microprocessor-based machines to have very large memories built from commodity dynamic random access memory while retaining the high bandwidth and low access time needed in a high-performance machine. Parallel processors composed of these high-performance microprocessors are becoming the supercomputing technology of choice for scientific and engineering applications. The challenges for these new supercomputers have been in developing multiprocessor architectures that are easy to program and that deliver high performance without extraordinary programming efforts by users. Recent progress in multiprocessor architecture has led to ways to meet these challenges.