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Course pages 2023–24

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

  • Who Guards the Guards? Formal validation of the Arm v8-m architecture specification, OOPSLA 2017
    [ACM Digital Library]
  • Genesys-Pro: Innovations in Test Program Generation for Functional Processor Verification, IBM Research, IEEE Design and Test 2004
  • End-to-end verification of processors with ISA-Formal, ARM Ltd, CAV 2016
    [Open Access]
Other optional material for week 5
  • Theme 1: Formal specification of ISAs:
    • ISA Semantics for ARMv8-A, RISC-V, and CHERI-MIPS, POPL 2019
      [Open Access]
    • Sail RISC-V docs:
  • Theme 2: Instruction test generation:
    • Randomised testing of a microprocessor model using SMT-solver state generation, 2015
      [Science Direct]
    • RISC-V torture tests:

Week 6: Security 1: CHERI

  • The Arm Morello Evaluation Platform—Validating CHERI-Based Security in a High-Performance System, IEEE Micro 2023. DOI: 10.1109/MM.2023.3264676
    [IEEExplore Library]
  • Efficient Tagged Memory, ICCD 2017
    [Open access]
  • CHERIvoke: Characterising Pointer Revocation using CHERI Capabilities for Temporal Memory Safety, MICRO 2019
    [Open access]
Other papers/reports
  • Companion to CHERIvoke: Cornucopia: Temporal Safety for CHERI Heaps. In Proceedings of the 41st IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (Oakland 2020). San Jose, CA, USA, May 18-20, 2020
    [Open access]
  • For reference: Capability Hardware Enhanced RISC Instructions: CHERI Instruction-Set Architecture (Version 9)
    [Technical Report]
  • More microarchitecture (but rather complex): CHERI Concentrate: Practical Compressed Capabilities, IEEE Transactions on Computers 2019
    [Open access]

Week 7: Security 2: Speculative execution attacks

  • Spectre attacks: Exploiting speculative execution, 2019 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (SOSP)
  • Speculative taint tracking: A comprehensive protection for speculatively accessed data, 2019 International Symposium on Microarchitecture (MICRO)
    [UIUC i-acoma group]
  • Revizor: Testing black-box CPUs against speculation contracts, 2022 Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (SOSP)

Week 8: Hardware accelerators and accelerators for machine learning

Other optional/background material for week 8
You may also be interested in the approaches taken by Tenstorrent, Graphcore and Esparanto.

The following papers are perhaps a little more hardware-centric but may also be of interest:

Lecture Slides

Seminar 1 - Trends in Computer Architecture

Seminar 2 - Superscalar processor Design (background)

Seminar 3 - Prefetching

Seminar 4 - Reliability

Seminar 5 - Testing

Seminar 6 - Security 1: CHERI

Seminar 7 - Security 2: Speculative Execution Attacks

Seminar 8 - HW accelerators and accelerators for machine learning