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Teaching Computer Architecture Performance Analysis

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Computer ET Curriculum

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1202.1 - 11.1202.18



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Paper Authors


Jeffrey Honchell Purdue University

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Jeffrey W. Honchell

Professor Honchell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering technology at Purdue University, West Lafayette. His professional area of interest is teaching and applied research in the area of RF communications. Professor Honchell also has 10 years of combined industrial experience with IBM and The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He has also been actively involved in the ASEE and IEEE holding various positions over the last 10 years.

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Gregory Palmier Purdue University

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Gregory M. Palmier

Gregory Palmier was a graduate student in the College of Technology working on computer architecture and performance.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Teaching Computer Architecture Performance Analysis Introduction

The field of Computer Engineering continues to make great strides as computer hardware consistently reduces to a fraction of its former size while increasing in speed and capabilities. Education in this field is demanding and competitive as the complexity of today’s computer technology increases steadily. While the College of technology at Purdue University offers many courses teaching the use of a computer as a tool, there are few classes offering a technical “hands-on” approach to analyzing the performance of different computer architectures and fostering an understanding how computer systems function. This field of education is dominated by theoretical computer architecture classes in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and has little to offer students with technical backgrounds interesting in the subject of Computer engineering and Performance Analysis. Therefore a meaningful laboratory supplement to the theoretical knowledge applied to future technology is necessary for a better understanding of a computer system’s architecture and performance.

The role of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology (ECET 325) at Purdue University will provide students with learning experience of introductory computer architecture designs and theories with a required laboratory experiment each week. The goal of these laboratory experiments will be to reinforce the lecture topics of computer architecture for technology students. Students in technology curriculums need to establish proper methodologies for understanding computer performance with statistical analysis using software tools for benchmarking and analyzing computer system configurations. This will be accomplished as a part of the laboratory experience.

These performance measurements include properly analyzing the CPU, memory, bus and operating system in terms of similarities and differences. Conducting the laboratory experiments will provide students with a “real world” view of computer processing in real-time. Analyzing these characteristics of computer systems will provide students with an understanding of how to properly assess the performance of new computer systems for task specific applications.

The objective of benchmarking is to attempt to define and measure machine power in such a way that they can compare one machine with another [1]. Students in the Computer Engineering Technology field need the experience of working on a laboratory experiment to answer questions like; “What is being measured? How is performance properly analyzed? How is this affected by the operating system?” The human desire for faster technology fuels the problem facing analysts in performance tuning: it is the adaptation of the speed of a computer system to the speed requirements imposed by the real world [2]. It is these topics in performance analysis that need to be applied to keep the design requirements of computer systems moving forward.

Honchell, J., & Palmier, G. (2006, June), Teaching Computer Architecture Performance Analysis Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--164

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