#104 – David Patterson: Computer Architecture and Data Storage

David Patterson is a Turing award winner and professor of computer science at Berkeley. He is known for pioneering contributions to RISC processor architecture used by 99% of new chips today and for co-creating RAID storage. The impact that these two lines of research and development have had on our world is immeasurable. He is also one of the great educators of computer science in the world. His book with John Hennessy “Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach” is how I first learned about and was humbled by the inner workings of machines at the lowest level.

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This conversation is part of the Artificial Intelligence podcast. If you would like to get more information about this podcast go to https://lexfridman.com/ai or connect with @lexfridman on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Medium, or YouTube where you can watch the video versions of these conversations. If you enjoy the podcast, please rate it 5 stars on Apple Podcasts, follow on Spotify, or support it on Patreon.

Here’s the outline of the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time.

00:00 – Introduction
03:28 – How have computers changed?
04:22 – What’s inside a computer?
10:02 – Layers of abstraction
13:05 – RISC vs CISC computer architectures
28:18 – Designing a good instruction set is an art
31:46 – Measures of performance
36:02 – RISC instruction set
39:39 – RISC-V open standard instruction set architecture
51:12 – Why do ARM implementations vary?
52:57 – Simple is beautiful in instruction set design
58:09 – How machine learning changed computers
1:08:18 – Machine learning benchmarks
1:16:30 – Quantum computing
1:19:41 – Moore’s law
1:28:22 – RAID data storage
1:36:53 – Teaching
1:40:59 – Wrestling
1:45:26 – Meaning of life