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Oklahoma State University

Computer Architecture

A person working on computer components.


The word architect is defined as one that plans or devises; one that designs something. A computer architect utilizes detailed knowledge of hardware and software to design computer systems. This includes the detailed design of components within the microprocessor as well as the various components that interact with the core processor. Architects create the blueprint of not only single CPU's, but entire multiprocessor systems with their various interconnecting hardware.

Students with a background in computer architecture can apply this broad knowledge in a number of different specialties in the industry. Companies like AMD, Intel, and IBM have a number of research and development departments where computer architects work with hardware engineers and computer scientists to design the next generation of processors.

In addition to general-purpose and server platform designers, many companies such as Cisco Systems, NVIDIA, and Qualcomm employ computer architects to design their next-generation application-specific or embedded systems. Computer architecture is widely recognized as being at the heart of system design for any computer system.


OSU has an active research program in the area of computer architecture and building of components that comprise system on chip (SOC) systems. Some of the areas of emphasis include prefetching, cache design, computer arithmetic systems, applications-specific architectures, compilers and hardware for enhanced floating point performance, and cryptographic hardware. OSU is also involved in designing state of the art tools that allow complex architectures to be created that comprise billions of transistors. This is an important research topic and is crucial to the progress of scientific research. In addition to working on the important research problems of today, we study the underlying hardware and technology trends to anticipate what the relevant research problems of the next decade would be.

A circuit board.


  • Digital Computer Design
  • Advanced Topics in Computer Architecture
  • CMOS Digital Logic Design (VLSI)
  • Advanced High Speed Computer Arithmetic
  • System on Chip Architectures
  • High Speed Computer Arithmetic
  • Compiler Optimizations for Computer Architecture
  • Performance Evaluation of Computer Systems

Research Labs

Our research facilities span 3 research labs with multiple clusters of high-end workstations, rack-mount systems, high-speed oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, and signal generators.

VLSI Computer Architecture Research Group
Mixed Signal VLSI Design Group


Dr. James Stine received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Lehigh University in 2000. He was an assistant and associate professor at Illinois Institute of Technology from 1999 to 2005, where he directed the VLSI Computer Architecture, Arithmetic and CAD Research Laboratory. He is currently the Earl and Carolyn Glimp Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Stine specializes in research and teaching in VLSI, computer arithmetic, computer system architecture and digital design. His research contributions have been extensively published in journals and conference proceedings. He is the author of two monographs in the area of computer arithmetic. He is a member of the ACM, the IEEE Computer Society, Eta Kappa Nu and a Senior Member of the IEEE.