Computer system design today requires bridging machine learning, security, hardware design, device physics, formal methods, language design, and many other disciplines into a new field we use the old name of "computer architecture" to describe. To navigate this new field we need new tools that make exploration, design, and evaluation not only possible but perhaps even fun! The approach we have taken at UC Santa Barbara is to develop new architectures and tools in tandem and in this presentation I will discuss one specific tool that resulted from these efforts: PyRTL. PyRTL (rhymes with turtle) is a python-based approach to register-transfer level design, simulation, tracing, and testing. It embraces simplicity, openness, usability, clarity, and extensibility as overarching goals -- feel free to "pip install pyrtl" before the talk if you would like a chance to try it out before the presentation. I will describe some of the key challenges in the development of these types of approaches, remaining open problems, and how open tools have been useful in our efforts to develop radically new architectures.
Tim Sherwood is a Professor of Computer Science at UC Santa Barbara, co-founder of the hardware security startup Tortuga Logic, 10-time winner of IEEE Micro Top Pick, and recipient of the 2016 ACM SIGARCH Maurice Wilkes Award.
Zoom link: https://ucsc.zoom.us/j/9161533