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Course pages 2021–22

Advanced Topics in Computer Architecture

Reading List

Note: All Week 1 papers are not for assessment. You should not submit an essay on the topic of these papers.

Week 1: Trends in Computer Architecture

Other optional material for week 1

Week 2: State-of-the-art Processor Design

Other optional material for week 2

Week 3: Memory system design

Other optional material for week 3

Week 4: Hardware reliability

Other optional material for week 4

Week 5: Specification, verification and test

  • ISA specification & verification:
    • Mandatory: Who Guards the Guards? Formal validation of the Arm v8-m architecture specification, OOPSLA 2017
      [ACM Digital Library]
    • ISA Semantics for ARMv8-A, RISC-V, and CHERI-MIPS, POPL 2019
      [Open Access]
    • Sail RISC-V docs:
  • Instruction test generation:
    • Mandatory: Genesys-Pro: Innovations in Test Program Generation for Functional Processor Verification, IBM Research, IEEE Design and Test 2004
    • Randomised testing of a microprocessor model using SMT-solver state generation, 2015
      [Science Direct]
    • RISC-V torture tests:
Other optional material for week 5

Week 6: Security 1: CHERI

  • Background:An Introduction to CHERI
    [Technical Report UCAM-CL-TR-941]
  • Efficient Tagged Memory:
    [local PDF]
  • CHERI: A Hybrid Capability-System Architecture for Scalable Software Compartmentalization:
    [local PDF]
  • CHERIvoke: Characterising Pointer Revocation using CHERI Capabilities for Temporal Memory Safety:
    [local PDF]
Optional material for week 6

Week 7: Security 2: Speculative execution attacks

  • Spectre Attacks: Exploiting Speculative Execution
    [Open PDF]
  • Example industry response: ARM white paper: Cache Speculation Side-channels
    [ARM white paper]
  • Research into hardware mitigations: MI6: Secure Enclaves in a Speculative Out-of-Order Processor
    [PDF on Arxiv]
Optional material for week 7

Week 8: Hardware accelerators and accelerators for machine learning

Other optional/background material for week 8

Lecture Slides

Seminar 1 - Trends in Computer Architecture

Seminar 1 - Processor Design (background)

Seminar 2 - Prefetching

Seminar 3 - Reliability

Seminar 4 - Specification, verification and test

Seminar 5 - Secure processors 1: CHERI

Seminar 5 - Secure processors 2: Speculative execution attacks

Seminar 8 - Accelerators