Fifty Years of Microarchitecture

Harvey Cragon
Professor Emeritus
Ernest Cockrell, Jr. Centennial Chair Emeritus
The University of Texas at Austin

The Micro-34 program will be placed in the context of fifty years of research in microarchitecture. Over this time, the major emphasis has been on improving processor performance as measured by Clock per Instruction (CPI). We have seen a number of questions that occupied many minds for many years: Stack architectures compared to memory-to-memory and register files, and RISC vs. CISC are examples. For the last fifteen years or so, the focus of much research has been improvements in CPI by exploiting instruction level parallelism by the processor. This emphasis continues with the papers at Micro-34.

Other microarchitecture research has focused on improving processor functionality. Virtual memory, caching and special purpose instruction set architectures for DSP are examples. These functionality improvements are supported by implementation ideas such as memory hierarchy and pipelining. Micro-34 papers address the important functionality requirement of reduced power consumption as well as improvements to the memory hierarchy. Micro-34 continues in the fifty year tradition of a mix of performance improvement and functionality papers. This should be a rewarding conference for all.


Harvey Cragon is an Adjunct Professor at UT Dallas and Professor Emeritus and Ernest Cockrell, Jr. Centennial Chair Emeritus in Engineering at UT Austin. Prior to his academic career he was with Texas Instrument for 25 years in Dallas and Austin. For over 35 years his research interests have been in high-speed computers and computer architecture design methodology.

Professor Cragon received his BSEE from Louisiana Polytechnic Institute in 1950. He was presented the IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award in 1984 and the ACM/IEEE Eckert-Mauchly Award in 1986. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Life Fellow of the IEEE and a Fellow of the ACM.

Mr. Cragon holds 9 patents in the field of Computer Engineering and has over 50 refereed conference or solicited papers. He is the author of three textbooks. His current interest is in the field of the history of cryptography and the application of computers to breaking ciphers.