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Department of Computer Science and Technology


Computer architecture research theme logo

Computer Architecture has been at the heart of the Department's research since it was first created – work on mechanical calculators and analogue computers drove the Lab's founders, which led to the development of EDSAC, the world's first practical stored-program computer in 1949.

Nowadays, research on Computer Architecture considers traditional general-purpose CPUs, GPUs, and accelerators for areas like machine learning, artificial intelligence, scientific computing and data processing. We have strong links with security through the CHERI project, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and programming language research via compilers and binary modification tools.

Through collaboration, we undertake complete system designs from gates through to applications with everything in between: processors, accelerators, compilers, linkers, run-times, operating systems, applications and verification at many levels.

We collaborate widely with industry, both hardware companies designing their own architectures and software companies developing the applications, operating systems, libraries and tools that run on them.

The lowRISC project, which creates fully open-source hardware designs, was recently spun out from the Department and is currently stewarding the OpenTitan project – the first open source project to build a silicon root of trust. The Raspberry Pi Foundation, a UK-based charity focused on computing and digital making, was also conceived within the Department in 2008. The CHERI secure processor stack is available open-source for RISC-V and there is commercial evaluation under the UK Digital Security by Design initiative involving Arm, Microsoft, Google and many others.