CPSC 3300 Questions / The Pentium Chronicles

Bob Colwell Bob Colwell

"If my readers walk away with only one idea from the book, I'd hope it's this one: the essence of engineering is the art of the compromise. There is no great design without constraints, and successfully juggling those constraints against the absolute project goals is the engineering primary job. Just about every topic I raise in that book is a description of how I tried to find the right balance point between two or more competing influences." - Bob Colwell (personal correspondence, with his permission to quote, Oct. 9, 2006)


Wen-mei Hwu Wen-mei Hwu

** - marks a question that refers back to The Soul of a New Machine


Fred Pollack Fred Pollack

Chapter 1 - Introduction

P6 architecture team working under Bob Colwell

Glenn Hinton Dave Papworth Michael Fetterman Andy Glew
Glenn Hinton Dave Papworth Michael Fetterman Andy Glew

Also, Randy Steck was the P6 design manager, and Gurbir Singh was the chief bus designer (Singh's MS degree is from Clemson ECE).

Chapter 2 - The Concept Phase

Koosh ball

Chapter 3 - The Refinement Phase

P6 simple instruction flow

Chapter 4 - The Realization Phase

P6 chip

Note: "tapeout" is the point in the project when the design is released to manufacturing. (see, e.g., Wikipedia)

Chapter 5 - The Production Phase

Pentium Pro 180 MHz box

Chapter 6 - The People Factor

VLSI Design Engineer

Intel offers you the opportunity to develop world-class expertise in architecture, logic or circuit design. You may also choose to work in product teams where you will acquire broad skills at all levels of design. The primary focus of your job will be specifying and implementing effective design solutions.

Intel Job Description on www.intel.com, 1997

Chapter 7 - Inquiring Minds Like Yours

Itanium logo

Long term consideration - for discussion during whole book review

Book cover

Technical info on the P6

P6 pipeline

Background and technical description of the Intel P6 microarchitecture

More of Bob Colwell's writings and presentations

List of At Random columns in IEEE Computer, 2002-2005

"Engineering Lessons from the Pittsburgh Steelers," presentation at Grove City College, April 2009

Oral history of Robert P. Colwell, interviewed by Paul Edwards, August 2009

"The Chip Design Game at the End of Moore's Law," keynote speech at HotChips 25, 2013