The computer architecture group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is
one of the best in the world. The faculty have more than 100 years of
research experience resulting in key contributions to:

  • branch prediction (e.g., two-bit dynamic algorithm)
  • caches (non-blocking caches and cold, capacity, and conflict misses)
  • coherence (write-once)
  • decoupled superscalar architectures (a forerunner to now conventional superscalar)
  • distributed shared memory via hardware or software (Tempest, Typhoon, & Blizzard))
  • memory consistency models (processor consistency and data-race-free)
  • out-of-order execution (reorder buffers, RUU)
  • simulation (Wisconsin Wind Tunnel, SimpleScalar)
  • pipelines (optimal clocking)
  • precise interrupts (reorder buffers and future files)
  • system area network interfaces (cacheable device registers)
  • synchronization (queue-on-lock-bit)
  • translation lookaside buffer and page table design (with superpages)
  • trace caches
  • Multiscalar architecture (speculative multithreading, Kestrel implementation, memory disambiguation/ARB)
  • value prediction
  • Token Coherence
  • LogTM - Log-Based Hardware Transactional Memory
  • GEMS - Wisconsin General Execution-Driven Multiprocessor Simulator

Key awards and recognitions include:

  • Eckert-Mauchly Award, the highest award in computer architecture (Sohi)
  • 2009 ACM SIGARCH Distinguished Service Award (Hill)
  • Sohi elected to National Academy of Engineering
  • Eckert-Mauchly Award, the highest award in computer architecture (Smith)
  • Maurice Wilkes Award, for mid-career researchers in computer architecture (Sohi)
  • NSF Presidential Young Investigator Awards (Hill & Wood)
  • Program Chairs of the International Symposium on Computer Architecture (Goodman, Hill, Smith, & Sohi) and ASPLOS (Wood)
  • ACM Fellow (Hill, Sohi, Wood)
  • IEEE Fellow (Hill, Sohi, Wood)
  • Eight Wisconsin
    papers were selected by former program chairs for Selected Papers from
    the First 25 International Symposia on Computer Architecture
    (more than
    any other institution).

An Early Wisconsin Computer

  • Wisconsin Integrated Synchronous Computer (WISC)
  • Designed by Gene Amdahl in 1950 to perform calcuations for his Physics Ph.D.
  • Building Completed in 1955 by the Electrical Engineering Dept.
  • Could perform 60 operations per second (0.000001 MHz).
  • Now at the Computer History Museum, Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA.
  • Source: http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/wisc.html

1950s WISC Computer