How to Learn Computer Architecture
Are you fascinated by the different fields of Computer Architecture? Do you wish to explore the various methods developed to enhance computer performance? Do you want to build your processor or a computer? Do the designs of computers and their hardware make you want to learn more about them? Do the microprocessors make you more curious about their workings?
If your answer to any of the questions is yes, then you are in the right place. You can do all that with the help of this course.
What Is Computer Architecture?
Modern computer technology demands the comprehension of both hardware and software, and the interactions amongst the two to have a command over the basics of computing.
Computer Architecture is a set of rules and systems that administers how the computer system works. Architecture is a plan of the overall functionality of the computer, what are the basic operations it can perform, and how they can be sequenced. It gives the idea about how computers are designed and built.
Computer Architecture describes how a program is executed and how a computer is designed using logic gates and wires to satisfy specific goals. Computer Architecture has a major role as it critically affects both the software programmer and the hardware designer. It provides data paths for both computers and supercomputers, facilitating pipelining, and ensuring consistency.
What Is Computer Architecture Used For?
Computer Architecture plays an important role to understand modern computing technology through an in-depth study of the interface between hardware and software. It can be fundamentally used in the following:
- Design computers. Computer Architecture helps in designing an improved version or a new version of an existing system using new architecture and new processors.
- Software development. The development of software and getting the best performance of the software requires a good understanding of the architecture and the hardware.
- Embedded computers. Computers are sometimes a part of the overall system, where they are embedded deep into the system. It creates an opportunity to design a new application.
Types of Computer Architecture
Computer Architecture comprises a variety of things, including instruction set architecture, microarchitecture, and implementation. It is a vast topic but it can be broken down into five major types:
This architecture is proposed by John Von-Neumann. Nowadays computers are based on Von-Neumann architecture. It is based on the concept that data and instructions are stored in a single read/write memory within the computer system.
In this, the Input device instruction and the Central processing unit (CPU) performs one operation at a time. Once the operation is done, it is sent to the output device. Control and logic units for processing operations are within the central processing unit.
Harvard architecture is used when data and code is present in different memory blocks. A separate memory block is needed for data and instruction. Data can be accessed by one memory location and instruction can be accessed by a different location.
Modified harvard architecture is like a harvard architecture machine and it has a common address space for the separate data and instruction cache. It has digital signal processors that will execute small or highly audio or video algorithms and it is reproducible.
Instruction Set Architecture
It has a set of instructions that the processor understands that is required to make up the architecture. It has two instruction sets, one is RISC (reduced instruction set computer) and the second is CISC (complex instruction set computer).
Instruction has multiple address modes, but programs do not use all of them that is the reason multiple address modes were reduced. This helps the compiler to easily write the instructions, performance is increased.
Microarchitecture is known as computer organizations and it is the way when instruction set architecture is a built-in processor.
It reads the instruction and decodes it, will find parallel data to process the instruction, and then will process the instruction and output will be generated. It is used in microprocessors, microcontrollers.
The name defines itself, the design will satisfy user requirements such as architecture, module, interfaces, and data for a system and it is connected to product development. It is the process of taking marketing information and creating product designs to be manufactured. Modular systems are made by standardizing hardware and software.
Learning Computer Architecture
Now that you know about the fundamentals of Computer Architecture, the next step is to look forward to which course to get enrolled in. A stepwise comprehensive list of the courses and resources is given below:
How Long Does It Take to Learn Computer Architecture?
Learning Computer Architecture can be both easy yet difficult. But what helps get through it is the course you choose and your field of interest.
A Bachelor’s Degree takes up to 4 years while a Master’s Degree takes 2 years and online courses may take even less than 6 months. However, the duration of the course does not matter much, what matters is the consistent practice of the skills. For successful implementation of Computer Architecture, it is important to learn about the basic concepts as well as specializations.
How to Learn Computer Architecture: Step-by-Step
Now that you know about Computer Architecture, let us take a look at what steps you need to take to learn Computer Architecture and be a better name in the market.
- Choose a course. There are a lot of courses available to choose from. According to your preferences, you can choose either an in-person course or an online course. A detailed list is provided below.
- Enroll yourself. Without wasting any time, get yourself enrolled in the course. If delayed, chances are the seats in the best colleges might fill up.
- Read books and other online resources. Increase your knowledge by reading books, articles, blogs, etc. so that you do not miss out on the latest discoveries.
- Get certified. To stand out from the rest, enroll in a specialized certification course based on your interests. Certifications increase your chances of getting a job.
The Best Computer Architecture Courses and Training
To be a professional, you need to increase your knowledge both theoretically and practically. Enrolling in a course either an in-person course or an online course, according to your preference, is the most effective way to do so. To help you out with it, we have compiled a list of courses to choose from.
In-Person Computer Architecture Classes
The best way to study is to go for the in-person courses as they provide hands-on training on various topics. Below are some best courses available in the USA:
- Course Name: Master of Science in Computer Engineering (M.S.)
- Fee: $1,965
- Duration: 2-3 years
- Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, computer engineering or computer science
This program teaches you to implement Computer Architecture and integrated circuit design techniques in modern computing systems using various tools. It provides the latest knowledge and skills in computer systems architecture, networking, microprocessors, and VLSI and ASIC design modules.
- Course Name: Bachelors of Arts in Computer Science
- Fee: $50,770.85
- Duration: 4 years
- Prerequisites: SAT
Ranked at 3 in the QS World Ranking 2020, this University is a dream for a lot of students. The course provided is designed to teach students skills in various fields like mathematics, physics, economics, linguistics, and psychology.
After completion of the course, you will be able to design a system, identifying trade-offs on dimensions such as performance, usability, robustness, security, and durability.
- Course Name: Master of Science in Computer Science
- Fee: $38,466.95
- Duration: 2 years
- Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
This course introduces you to the Probability for Computer Scientists, Design and Analysis of Algorithms, and Computer Organization and Systems. Besides, it also teaches the Foundations of Computing and relative theories.
It includes specializations in artificial intelligence, biocomputation, computer and network security, human-computer interaction, information management and analytics, mobile and internet computing.
Online Computer Architecture Courses
There are a number of online courses available to choose from if you do not wish to go for the traditional in-person courses. Below is the list of top courses available online:
- Course Name: Computer Science Fundamentals
- Duration: 6 months
- Prerequisites: none
- Fee: $500.45
This is a MicroBachelors® Program in Computer Science Fundamentals that provides you with the basics of computer hardware and operating systems and their structures. It uses the principles of computational thinking to gain insights into network protocols, architectures, and applications.
This program is awarded three (3) academic credits at Thomas Edison State University towards a general elective course.
- Course Name: Applied Computer Architectures
- Duration: 2 hours
- Prerequisites: none
- Fee: $52.03
This course offers detailed information related to different topics of Computer Architecture, naming, Basic Processor Architecture, the Memory Hierarchy, Pipelining, Virtual Memory, Superscalar Processors, Vector Architectures, and Parallel Computing Architectures.
It teaches you about the Architecture Design Process and How to Design your Architecture for a given application. It is best suited for Electrical Engineering students and FPGA Enthusiasts.
Free Computer Architecture Courses
Apart from the paid online and in-person courses, we have listed some of the best free Computer Architecture courses which you can look up to enhance your knowledge about the topic.
- Course Name: Computer Architecture
- Duration: 50 hours
- Prerequisites: none
Provided by Princeton University, this course teaches to design the computer architecture of complex modern microprocessors. It introduces you to the Instruction Set Architecture, and Microcode. It also covers the major topics like pipelining, cache, very long instruction word (VLIW) processors, and different kinds of architectures for out-of-order processors.
This advanced-level course comes with flexible deadlines and is 100% online which means you do not have to skip classes when faced with any personal issues. This is the best fit if you wish to learn more about Computer Architecture.
- Course Name: Scheduling and Process Synchronization in Operating Systems
- Duration: 2-3 hours
- Prerequisites: none
This course is an in-depth guide on the operations involved in scheduling along with the critical section difficulties faced in scheduling. It includes the concepts of mutex locks and semaphore implementation in process synchronization.
This course is the best one available if you want to learn to analyze the CPU scheduler measurements in systems, the concepts of a round-robin in scheduling, and the various algorithm processes of synchronization.
Computer Architecture Books
Books are a perfect means to increase your knowledge and gain insights into difficult topics not likely discussed in the general courses. Below is the curated list of books on Computer Architecture:
THE ELEMENTS OF COMPUTING SYSTEMS: BUILDING A MODERN COMPUTER FROM FIRST PRINCIPLES, by Noam Nisan, Shimon Schocken
This book provides an in-depth understanding of the lower-level abstractions, and how to build logic gates, higher-level chips (ALU, RAM), a machine language, a CPU, an assembly language, compilers, and a high-level language, and eventually a computer.
This book is a perfect fit for anyone who may not have a thorough computer science background but is familiar with and interested in programming languages.
INTRODUCTION TO ALGORITHMS, 3RD EDITION (THE MIT PRESS), Thomas H. Cormen
This is a well known and most used textbook on the subject. It introduces you to the fundamental concepts of algorithms, dynamic programming, and greedy algorithms. Concisely worded in an easy to understand language, it pushes you to analyze algorithms for theoretical data structures.
Everything in the book is well explained using Example(s) and/or diagram(s), mathematical proofs, where applicable, and problem sets. The authors also provide a Solutions file online for the exercises.
DESIGNING DATA-INTENSIVE APPLICATIONS: THE BIG IDEAS BEHIND RELIABLE, SCALABLE, AND MAINTAINABLE SYSTEMS, Martin Kleppmann
This book is best suited for software engineers, software architects, and technical managers who love to code. It discusses the various principles and trade-offs that are fundamental to data systems, and we explore the different design decisions taken by different products.
It provides you with a high-level understanding of different techniques, including the idea behind it, the pros and cons, and the problem it is trying to solve. The book deals with the storage, models, structures, access patterns, encoding, replication, partitioning, distributed systems, batch & stream processing, and the future of data systems.
Computer Architecture Certifications
There is never too much knowledge about any subject. Certifications pave the way for getting the desired job with higher salaries.
This certification teaches you the complete range of Google Cloud Platform technologies. It helps you develop essential skills for managing and administering solutions. It aims at providing knowledge about the methods to develop, implement, and deploy solutions.
It helps you develop knowledge of solution patterns- methods, technologies, and designs that are used to implement security, scalability, high availability, and other desired qualities.
This certification provides the knowledge about the architect and deploys secure and robust applications on AWS technologies, and the ability to provide implementation guidance based on best practices to the organization throughout the life cycle of a project.
Online Computer Architecture Resources
To ensure your learning never stops, we have picked out the best resources for you to continue learning new things about Computer Architecture.
This online portal provides online resources on almost all the topics. It focuses mainly on Programming, Data Science, DevOps, and Design. It provides online courses and training worldwide.
With videos and notes provided, it is a perfect means to go to when stuck with any problem regarding Computer Architecture. Every topic is given in an easy to understand language which makes it a lot better for even a beginner to understand the particulars.
This website comprises live courses as well as online courses. It has an ample amount of articles on Computer Organization and Architecture Tutorials. They have detailed information about topics like Input and Output Systems, Pipelining, Miscellaneous, Programs, and Quick Links.
In addition to this, it thoroughly covers the subjects like Basic Computer Instructions, Instruction Design and Format, Computer Arithmetic, Microprogrammed Control, and Memory Organization.
Youtube is the best resource to learn anything and everything. It has millions of videos explaining different subjects. The videos are available in a lot of languages to help you understand better.
Should You Study Computer Architecture?
Now that you know that Computer Architecture is more than mere hardware, figuring out if this is what you want to do is the first and foremost step. It is not as easy but once you get a hold of the basics, it will not be difficult either.
This course is about redesigning computers to manage the processing power needed for deep learning. It includes building an infrastructure for the true cloud and edge computing. It utilizes the principles of neural networks so that companies and businesses can implement deep learning.
Companies are looking for skilled and ambitious DevOps engineers to remain competitive in this agile world. If you are enthusiastic about becoming a next-generation developer or designing your next business intelligence computing system, you should not miss out on this opportunity.