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CS -> Hardware

Book Title : Computer Structures: Readings and Examples
eBook download format(s) : HTML HTML 
ISBN-10 : 0070573026 
ISBN-13 : 978-0-070573-02-4 
Author(s) : C. Gordon Bell Allen Newell 
Publisher : Mcgraw-Hill College (Sep 1981)
Section : CS -> Hardware
Book Review:

From the Book
The structures that we call computer systems continue to grow in complexity, in size, and in diversity. This book is linked firmly to the nature of this growth. The book is about the upper levels of computer structure: about instruction sets, which define a computer system at the programming level; and about organizations of processors, memories, switches, input-output devices, controllers, and communication links, which provide the ultimate functioning system. These levels are just emerging into well-defined systems levels-with developed symbolic techniques of analysis and synthesis and accumulated engineering know-how, all expressed in a crystallized representation. These aspects of computer systems have always existed, of course, but only in rudimentary form. The classical four-box picture of a computer (arithmetic unit, memory, input-output, and control) is certainly an effective organization of components to process information. But multiple-processors hierarchies of memories and remote communications force the top level of organization into a distinct level, requiring analysis and rational design. Similarly, the 25 instructions of the IBM 701 computer (developed around 1953) is certainly an instruction set-indeed one worthy of study. But processors with dozens of registers and almost unlimited logical circuitry, again force the instruction set to become a topic of rational analysis and design.

This book is tied to the emergence of these upper levels of organization: eight years ago (a computer engineer's half dozen) would have been too early to write this book; eight years hence would be too late. Eight years ago the diversity and complexity of computer structures was not sufficient to justify the attention this book provides. This book would have been too thin. Eight years hence textbooks will exist that treat these levels systematically. This book will then appear too descriptive.

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