Computer architecture definition
Computer architecture refers to the design and organization of a computer’s fundamental operational structures. In other words, it is how a computer’s hardware components are designed and interconnected as well as how they communicate to perform computing tasks. This includes the computer’s instruction set, processor design, memory organization, input/output processes, and methods of data storage and retrieval.
Computer architecture types:
- Von Neumann architecture. A foundational and traditional architecture where both data and instructions are stored in the same memory space. It consists of a CPU, memory, and I/O devices.
- Harvard architecture. It differentiates storage of data and instructions in separate memory blocks. It’s often used in modern digital signal processing (DSP) systems.
- RISC (reduced instruction set computer). An architecture type that uses a small set of simple and general instructions, allowing faster instruction execution.
- CISC (complex instruction set computer). It uses a larger set of instructions, some of which might perform complex operations. The Intel x86 architecture is an example of CISC.
- Multicore architecture. Modern CPUs have multiple processing cores (like dual-core, quad-core) that can run tasks in parallel, improving performance.
- Quantum architecture. While it’s emerging and experimental, quantum architecture harnesses the principles of quantum mechanics to solve problems that are currently too complex for classical computers.