This piece covers computer architecture at the instruction set architecture (ISA) and system design levels. Starting with foundation material on data representation and computer arithmetic, the book moves through the basic components of a computer architecture, covering topics at increasing levels of complexity up through CISC, network architecture, and parallel architecture. The authors have adopted the use of a SPARC-subset for an instructional ISA called "ARC" (A RISC Computer), which is carried through the mainstream of the book, and is complemented with platform-independent software tools that simulate the ARC ISA as well as the MIPS and x86 (Pentium) ISAs.
Our goal in writing this book is to expose the inner workings of the modern digital computer at a level that demystifies what goes on inside the machine. The only prerequisite to Principles of Computer Architecture is a working knowledge of a high-level programming language. The breadth of material has been chosen to cover topics normally found in a first course in computer architecture or computer organization. The breadth and depth of coverage have been steered to place the beginning student on a solid track for continuing studies in computer-related disciplines.
In creating a computer architecture textbook, the technical issues fall into place fairly naturally, and it is the organizational issues that bring important features to fruition. Some of the features that received the greatest attention in Principles of Computer Architecture include the choice of the instruction set architecture (ISA), the use of case studies, and a voluminous use of examples and exercises.