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Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach Paperback – Sep 16 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 856 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 5 edition (Sept. 16 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 012383872X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0123838728
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 19 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #115,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"What has made this book an enduring classic is that each edition is not an update, but an extensive revision that presents the most current information and unparalleled insight into this fascinating and fast changing field. For me, after over twenty years in this profession, it is also another opportunity to experience that student-grade admiration for two remarkable teachers." - From the Foreword by Luiz André Barroso, Google, Inc.

About the Author

John L. Hennessy is the tenth president of Stanford University, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1977 in the departments of electrical engineering and computer science. Hennessy is a Fellow of the IEEE and ACM; a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Science, and the American Philosophical Society; and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among his many awards are the 2001 Eckert-Mauchly Award for his contributions to RISC technology, the 2001 Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award, and the 2000 John von Neumann Award, which he shared with David Patterson. He has also received seven honorary doctorates.

David A. Patterson has been teaching computer architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, since joining the faculty in 1977, where he holds the Pardee Chair of Computer Science. His teaching has been honored by the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California, the Karlstrom Award from ACM, and the Mulligan Education Medal and Undergraduate Teaching Award from IEEE. Patterson received the IEEE Technical Achievement Award and the ACM Eckert-Mauchly Award for contributions to RISC, and he shared the IEEE Johnson Information Storage Award for contributions to RAID. He also shared the IEEE John von Neumann Medal and the C & C Prize with John Hennessy. Like his co-author, Patterson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Computer History Museum, ACM, and IEEE, and he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame. He served on the Information Technology Advisory Committee to the U.S. President, as chair of the CS division in the Berkeley EECS department, as chair of the Computing Research Association, and as President of ACM. This record led to Distinguished Service Awards from ACM and CRA.

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By elginblatherford on July 17 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You will not need another book on computer architecture.
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By Yanbing Chen on Oct. 28 2014
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 77 reviews
76 of 86 people found the following review helpful
Disappointed Oct. 20 2011
By Read and think - Published on
Format: Paperback
It appears that this book was rushed out by the publisher, *unfinished*.

Core subjects that would normally be chapters in other books, such as "Computer Arithmetic", "Storage Systems", "Large-scale multiprocessors", "Survey of Instructions Set", etc (nine chapters in total ), have been relegated to an "Online Appendices" status, which is a misnomer because as of 2011/10/20 they don't exist at all, even online (a terse "coming soon" appearing on the website).

My suggestions: don't buy the book now, wait until the missing chapters are published and appears in print in the book itself.

If you buy the book now, you will only be able to read a lot of chapters as ".pdf" when they get published, not a pleasant experience in my opinion, and you will also contribute to encourage publishers in this bad practice.

To give you an idea of how bad it is, the number of non-printed chapters (9) is the same as the number of printed chapters (6 + 3 "appendices") and if we can trust the authors themselves: "There are more pages in these appendices (the non-printed ones) than there is in this book" (preface p xvi) !

[Update: 2011/11/01: the appendices are now present on the books web site in pdf. But still no printed paper version of the appendices available or announced]
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Another Bad Edition Jan. 31 2013
By Derek D. Simmons - Published on
Format: Paperback
The first and second editions described how to evaluate and determine what gives systems performance advantages over others. They got down to the real nuts and bolts of a system and described what made one optimal over others. Recent editions seem to be promoting current trends and technologies. I think one of the reasons for more editions in shorter periods of time is because a lot of the technologies they are examining don't have any real substance or staying power. The other reason I have been staying away from using recent releases is the reliance on web content. If I buy or recommend a book I expect it to be a whole book and not half of it dependent on web content that can disappear at a moments notice. If I wanted to recommend a website I will recommend a website and NOT a book. What would be nice is if they got back to the basics of what really makes one system more optimal, faster, than another with a historical perspective. Why computer architecture evolved following one path over another.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Well, it's certainly comprehensive... Dec 22 2011
By Brian Connors - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I'm not even sure what to make of a textbook this big -- so big that large swaths of it are available only online. There's certainly more material in here than can productively be covered in a single semester.

The authors were the creators of the MIPS architecture, and although it's no longer the big fish in the tank it's still common enough that it makes a good sample architecture for computer architecture classes. (You would, for example, run into it in cable boxes, some video game consoles, and network hardware.) Needless to say, MIPS gets a lot of case study in here. The book also covers other architectures (in greater detail in the online appendices), but not so much as to be confusing. But it's right about the part where it gets into vector processing that it starts to feel a bit like drinking from a firehose. The book also covers GPUs (a rather important part of most modern desktop computers) and the ins and outs of system and memory control.

But the tsunami really hits when you jump straight into warehouse-level computing -- the massive data clusters run by companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon to provide computing infrastructure for their customers. It feels like you're going in the deep end -- jumping straight past basic clustering directly into issues of real-world architecture and power distribution. This is interesting stuff, but it feels like it's drifting into another course entirely. And the appendices... oh so many, only three of which (largely information on instruction set architecture, which the authors felt was less relevant than in earlier versions of the book) are included in the book itself. The online chapters include the missing information on clustering and interconnecting, as well as examples of other architectures that aren't MIPS but which the reader/student might be interested in.

Essentially, in its fifth edition this book has reached a point where it may be a signal to take a different look at the classic computer science course load. This is one case where you might actually be getting your money's worth for the high cost of a textbook, except that this book covers at least two semesters of work. It's pretty definitive for what it teaches, but it's outgrown the subject and seems on its way to becoming a hardware version of The Art of Computer Programming -- less a textbook in and of itself, more of a reference and a sourcebook for writing texts and courses. I'm not sure what to think of this. If I'd had this book back in the mid-90s, I'd have found it incredibly intimidating.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Good book, Poor writing Nov. 22 2012
By Neil - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am sure the authors are experts in this area(look at their titles!) and they have a very broad knowledge of computer architecture. Unfortunately, they are not good writer. It is definitely not a pleasuring experience to read the book because they use complicated sentences to describe everything. I was always wondering why they cannot use plain English? Oftentimes I only got a vague definition of some method then I had to look up to wikipedia for better understanding (cause they use normal English). And the book is poorly organized. The authors jump from one point to another without proper transition. In the end, I learned everything a little bit but I cannot grab the the essence. They raise a question without answering it, instead they give you a lot of facts, which you still don't get what they want to say. And the problems in this book are jokes. I believe the authors themselves never take a look at the problem. The problems are not precisely defined so there are many "correct" answers because they can be explained in different ways.

To sum up, I just feel lucky to only need to read this once. Reading the book always remind me of the reading test in GRE. Wikipedia is a much better resource. Or ask an expert directly.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Kindle version ... not happy Sept. 30 2012
By _claudia_ - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have no complaints about the content, but the Kindle version of this book is horrible. The layout sucks, Figures are cut in the middle of the page, the formulas are hardly readable unless you zoom in and generally everything looks very cheap. I cannot believe that I paid $60 for that. How hard can it be to generate a good looking PDF-like file?