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10 Differences between Von Neumann and Harvard Architecture

Filed in Education by on June 7, 2021

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Difference between Von Neumann and Harvard Architecture: Von Neumann’s architecture was designed by the renowned physicist and mathematician John Von Neumann in the late 1940s, and Harvard’s architecture was based on the original Harvard Mark I relay-based computer.

10 Differences between Von Neumann and Harvard Architecture

The original Harvard architecture used to store instructions on punched tape and data in electro-mechanical counters. The Von Neumann architecture forms the basis of modern computing and is easier to implement. This article looks at the two computer architectures individually and explains the difference between the two.

Von Neuman Architecture

A Von Neuman architecture is nothing but it is an art that how an electronic computer can be stored. This is not a new concept at all and for a long time it has been there and we are following the principle of this Von Neuman architecture. If we will go back in history, it is quite evident that the Von Neuman architecture was first published in John von Neumann’s report on June 30, 1945, and since then the same principle is being implemented for the storing of electronic computers.

Application and Features

The Von Neuman architecture has got an extensive application in everyday life. Keeping in mind the extensive application the Von Neuman architecture has been introduced as a subject in the engendering degree. From the third semester, engineering students will have the subject as their curriculum. The Von Neuman architecture consists of some important features and here we will have a detailed elaboration of the features.

Memory: We all know that the Von Neuman is nothing but a computer having the feature of data storage. In the architecture of Von Neuman, memory plays a vital role and it is considered as one of the important features. Mainly this is responsible for both holding and starting of data and programming data. In modern days this has been replaced by the RAM and now we are using RAM for this purpose.

Control Unit: This unit is mainly responsible for the controlling aspect. All the data stored in the memory and during the processing of data the control unit plays the role and manages the data flow. In fact, to be more typically it is “One At A Time”. The control unit follows the principle of the One At A Time and accordingly it process all the data.

Input-output: Like all electronics devices the Von Neuman architecture also has an input/output architecture. It is the basic function is the same and nothing especially has been designed for the input and output architecture. With the Input and output device on a person can communicate with the device.

ALU: ALU or the Arithmetic Logic Unit has great importance in the Von Neuman architecture. Any sort of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of the data will be carried out by this ALU. In addition to that, any other kind of algorithmic function and activities will be carried out by the ALU. These are the basic aspect of the Von Neuman architecture which you must aware of.

Harvard Architecture

The Harvard architecture is nothing but a kind of storage of data. When it comes to the physical storage of the data the Harvard architecture always stood first. Though the concept is not a new one still the Harvard architecture has got huge appreciation from all. The Harvard Mark I relay-based computer is the term from where the concept of the Harvard architecture first arises and then onwards there has been significant development with this architecture. The main function of this architecture is to separate and physical storage of the data and giving the signal pathways for instruction and data.

Application and Features

It has got an extensive application in audio and video processing products and with every audio and video processing instrument you will notice the presence of Havard architecture. Blackfin processors by Analog Devices, Inc. is the particular device where it has got a premier use. In other electronic chip-based products, the Havard architecture is also widely used.

Memory Status

In the previous architecture, we have witnessed the presence of two memories. However, in the case of Harvard architecture, you will not find two memory and there will be one memory. The existing memory will be able to perform all the functions. Yes, there will be only read-only memory and this memory will be used for the purpose of reading, coding, decoding, and storing data.

The speed aspect

A lot has been discussed about Harvard architecture, but without speed, any architecture can’t be accepted. But in the case of the Havard architecture, the manufacturers have designed the architecture in such a way that it will be able to process the data at a much higher speed. Yes, all care has been taken so that the architecture can process data at high speed.

By implementing the same formula the modern days CPU are being manufactured so that the new CPU can run at a much faster sped and can also process the data effectively. The concept of the CPU cache is also being implemented while designing the Harvard architecture.

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 Von Neumann Architecture Features

  1. The Von Neumann architecture is a theoretical design based on the stored-program computer concept.
  2. The Von Neumann architecture has only one bus that is used for both instructions fetches and data transfers. More importantly, the operation must be scheduled because they cannot be performed at the same time.
  3. In Von Neumann’s architecture, the processing unit would require two clock cycles to complete an instruction.
  4. Von Neumann architecture is usually used literally in all machines from desktop computers, notebooks, high-performance computers to workstations.

 Von Neumann Architecture

Harvard Architecture Features

  1. The Harvard architecture is a modern computer architecture based on the Harvard Mark I relay-based computer model.
  2. The Harvard architecture has separate memory space for instructions and data which physically separates signals and storage code and data memory, which in turn makes it possible to access each of the memory systems simultaneously.
  3. In the Harvard architecture, the processing unit can complete instruction in one cycle if appropriate pipelining plans have been set.
  4. Harvard architecture is a new concept used specifically in microcontrollers and digital signal processing (DSP).
  5. Harvard architecture is a complex kind of architecture because it employs two buses for instruction and data, a factor that makes the development of the control unit comparatively more expensive.

Difference between Von Neumann and Harvard Architecture

Point of Comparison Harvard Architecture Von Neumann Architecture
Arrangement In Harvard architecture, the CPU is connected with both the data memory (RAM) and program memory (ROM), separately. In Von-Neumann architecture, there is no separate data and program memory. Instead, a single memory connection is given to the CPU.
Hardware requirements It requires more hardware since it will be requiring separate data and address bus for each memory. In contrast to Harvard architecture, this requires less hardware since only a common memory needs to be reached.
Space requirements This requires more space. Von-Neumann Architecture requires less space.
Speed of execution The speed of execution is faster because the processor fetches data and instructions simultaneously. The speed of execution is slower since it cannot fetch the data and instructions at the same time.
Space usage It results in wastage of space since if space is left in the data memory then the instructions memory cannot use the space of the data memory and vice-versa. Space is not wasted because the space of the data memory can be utilized by the instructions memory and vice-versa.

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