There is more build-up on what I have been talking about for years – that to write good software, one needs to know the hardware well. It just makes sense. Anyway, this blog has a good quote that I would like to include here.
Quicksort. Divide and conquer. Search trees. These and other algorithms form the basis for a classic undergraduate algorithms class, where the big ideas of algorithm design are laid bare for all to see, and the performance model is one instruction, one time unit. “One instruction, one time unit? How quaint!” proclaim the cache-oblivious algorithm researchers and real world engineers. They know that the traditional curriculum, while not wrong, is quite misleading. It’s simply not enough to look at some theoretical computing machine: the next-generation of high performance algorithms need to be in tune with the hardware they run on. They couldn’t be more right.