Goran Nikolic, Bojan Dimitrijević, Tatjana Nikolić, Mile Stojčev

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Nowadays microprocessors are among the most complex electronic systems that man has ever designed. One small silicon chip can contain the complete processor, large memory and logic needed to connect it to the input-output devices. The performance of today's processors implemented on a single chip surpasses the performance of a room-sized supercomputer from just 50 years ago, which cost over $ 10 million [1]. Even the embedded processors found in everyday devices such as mobile phones are far more powerful than computer developers once imagined. The main components of a modern microprocessor are a number of general-purpose cores, a graphics processing unit, a shared cache, memory and input-output interface and a network on a chip to interconnect all these components [2]. The speed of the microprocessor is determined by its clock frequency and cannot exceed a certain limit. Namely, as the frequency increases, the power dissipation increases too, and consequently the amount of heating becomes critical. So, silicon manufacturers decided to design new processor architecture, called multicore processors [3]. With aim to increase performance and efficiency these multiple cores execute multiple instructions simultaneously. In this way, the amount of parallel computing or parallelism is increased [4]. In spite of mentioned advantages, numerous challenges must be addressed carefully when more cores and parallelism are used.

This paper presents a review of microprocessor microarchitectures, discussing their generations over the past 50 years. Then, it describes the currently used implementations of the microarchitecture of modern microprocessors, pointing out the specifics of parallel computing in heterogeneous microprocessor systems. To use efficiently the possibility of multi-core technology, software applications must be multithreaded. The program execution must be distributed among the multi-core processors so they can operate simultaneously. To use multi-threading, it is imperative for programmer to understand the basic principles of parallel computing and parallel hardware. Finally, the paper provides details how to implement hardware parallelism in multicore systems.


Microprocessor, Pipelining, Superscalar, Multicore, Multithreading

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