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Encyclopedia > Harvard architecture

The term Harvard architecture originally referred to computer architectures that used physically separate storage and signal pathways for their instructions and data (in contrast to the von Neumann architecture). The term originated from the Harvard Mark I relay-based computer, which stored instructions on punched tape (24-bits wide) and data in relay latches (23-digits wide). These early machines had very limited data storage, entirely contained within the data processing unit, and provided no access to the instruction storage as data (making loading, modifying, etc. of programs entirely an offline process). Computer architecture is the theory behind the design of a computer. ... It has been suggested that Data storage device be merged into this article or section. ... The term von Neumann architecture refers to a computer design model that uses a single storage structure to hold both instructions and data. ... Portion of the Harvard-IBM Mark 1, left side. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


In a computer with a von Neumann architecture, the CPU can be either reading an instruction or reading/writing data from/to the memory. Both cannot occur at the same time since the instructions and data use the same signal pathways and memory. In a computer with Harvard architecture, the CPU can read both an instruction and data from memory at the same time. A computer with Harvard architecture can be faster because it is able to fetch the next instruction at the same time it completes the current instruction. Speed is gained at the expense of more complex electrical circuitry. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


In recent years the speed of the CPU has grown many times in comparison to the access speed of the main memory. Care needs to be taken to reduce the number of times main memory is accessed in order to maintain performance. If, for instance, every instruction run in the CPU requires an access to memory, the computer gains nothing for increased CPU speed - a problem referred to as being memory bound.


Memory can be made much faster, but only at high cost. The solution then is to provide a small amount of very fast memory known as a cache. As long as the memory that the CPU needs is in the cache, the performance hit is much smaller than it is when the cache has to turn around and get the data from the main memory. Tuning the cache is an important aspect of computer design. Diagram of a CPU memory cache A CPU cache is a cache used by the central processing unit of a computer to reduce the average time to access memory. ...


Modern high performance CPU chip designs incorporate aspects of both Harvard and von Neumann architecture. On chip cache memory is divided into an instruction cache and a data cache. Harvard architecture is used as the CPU accesses the cache. In the case of a cache miss, however, the data is retrieved from the main memory, which is not divided into separate instruction and data sections. Thus a von Neumann architecture is used for off chip memory access.


Harvard architectures are also frequently used in specialized DSPs, or digital signal processors, commonly used in audio or video processing products. For example, Blackfin processors by Analog Devices Inc make use of a Harvard architecture. A digital signal processor (DSP) is a specialized microprocessor designed specifically for digital signal processing, generally in real-time. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


Additionally, most general purpose small microcontrollers used in several electronics applications, such as the PIC microcontrollers made by Microchip Technology Inc, are based on the Harvard architecture. These processors are characterized by having small amounts of program and data memory, and take advantage of the Harvard architecture and reduced instruction set to ensure that most instructions can be executed within only one machine cycle. The separate storage means the program and data memories can be in different bit depths. For example, the PIC microcontroller has an 8-bit data word but a 12-bit, 14-bit, or 16-bit program word (depending on specific PIC). This allows a single instruction to contain a full-size data constant. Other RISC architectures, for example the ARM, typically have to use at least two instructions to load a full-size constant. PIC, is a family of RISC microcontrollers made by Microchip Technology, derived from the PIC1650 originally developed by General Instruments Microelectronics Division. ... Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC), is a microprocessor CPU design philosophy that favors a smaller and simpler set of instructions that all take about the same amount of time to execute. ... The ARM architecture (originally the Acorn RISC Machine) is a 32-bit RISC processor architecture that is widely used in a number of applications. ...


Another popular controller family are RISC controllers "AVR" by Atmel ([[1]]). Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC), is a microprocessor CPU design philosophy that favors a smaller and simpler set of instructions that all take about the same amount of time to execute. ... Check [AVR] ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Harvard architecture (432 words)
The term Harvard architecture originally referred to computer architectures that used physically separate storage and signal pathways for their instructions and data (in contrast to the von Neumann architecture).
Harvard architecture is used as the CPU accesses the cache.
Harvard architectures are also frequently used in specialized DSPs, or digital signal processors, commonly used in audio or video processing products.
Harvard messes with a masterpiece - The Boston Globe (1349 words)
Last winter, Harvard's president, Larry Summers, decreed that a row of large trees must be planted in front of the new One Western Avenue apartment complex facing the Charles River.
Nancy Cline, the Librarian of Harvard College, was in charge of the Lamont job and therefore of the Woodberry.
Backtracking in the face of criticism, Harvard is now planning to retrofit the room with chairs and tables either by Aalto or similar to his.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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