» Highlights

Technology Highlights

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, Gem5)
  • 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

  • IEEE Young Computer Architect Award (Sankaralingam)
  • NSF CAREER Award (San Miguel, Sankaralingam, Lipasti, Wood, Hill, Sohi)
  • Eckert-Mauchly Award, the highest award in computer architecture (Sohi, Hill, Goodman, Smith)
  • 2009 ACM SIGARCH Distinguished Service Award (Hill)
  • Sohi elected to National Academy of Engineering
  • 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, Lipasti)
  • 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).

Startups and Chips Built

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

Page last modified on September 02, 2021