Ayaz Akram

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Lina Sawalha

Second Advisor

Dr. Janos Grantner

Third Advisor

Dr. Steven Carr


ISA, x86, ARM, alpha, microarchitecture

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The recent advances in different instruction set architectures (ISAs) and the way those ISAs are implemented have revived the debate on the role of ISAs in overall performance of a processor. Many people in the computer architecture community believe that with current compiler and microarchitecture advances, the choice of ISA does not remain a decisive matter anymore. On the other hand, some researchers believe that this is not the case and they claim that ISAs can still play a significant role in the overall performance of a computer system. Novel heterogeneous architectures exploiting the diversity of different ISAs have been already introduced. This thesis evaluates applications’ behavior compiled for different RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computers) and CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computers) ISAs using various microarchitectures. We correlated performance differences of same applications across ISAs to certain ISA features. This work shows that ISAs can affect the overall performance of applications differently based on their inherent characteristics.