Architecture (computer science)

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Architecture (from ancient Greek αρχή archē , German 'beginning' , 'origin', 'basis' and τέχνη téchne , German 'art' , 'craft' also Latin tectum 'building' , 'house', 'roof') generally means 'architecture' with purpose-built design '. In computer science in particular , “architecture” refers to information technology systems , their composition from various components and their interaction. The term is used in different areas and contexts.

According to § 2 No. 6 of the KONSENS Act , architecture is a description of IT, specialist and operational architecture including the technical basis on which IT processes or software must be provided to implement the specified requirements .

Concept history

In the 20th century, the term “ architecture ” , which originated in the building industry, was generalized and transferred to other planned, complex structures and their conception (draft).

The applied computer science has taken over the transferred architectural concept. This reflects that work is carried out according to user requirements and the interaction of many different components must be taken into account.


The term architecture is essentially used in the following different areas:

designation Components Contexts considered
IT architecture Information technology system Interaction of all components of an IT system
Enterprise architecture IT of a company all IT systems and business processes of a company
Security architecture the parts of an IT system, based on information security related
System architecture a single IT system Description / representation of (computer) system configurations and their relationship to one another
Software architecture software the functioning of computer programs , data and their interaction
Data architecture Data basic structures and principles for data and information, their construction, use and further development
Information architecture Information system deals with the possible interactions for the user of information systems, the assignment, assignment and naming of the information units and functions contained in the system ...
Network topology Computer network Establishment of an information technology network
System architecture Family of computers typifying term for computer product families
Computer architecture computer Structure of computer systems as a whole, the operating principles and the hardware structure . Typically based on a Von Neumann architecture .
Processor architecture processor How the core components of a CPU work, e.g. B. 32-bit architecture

The idea of ​​architecture became particularly important in information and software architecture when, in 1987, Kent Beck and Ward Cunningham transferred the design patterns of the mathematician and architectural theorist Christopher Alexander to software development.

The close relationship between understanding computer science and that of architects or urban planners became clear: certain requirements lead to a range of functions to be created that must be implemented by individual components.

An architecture model of objects, especially from computer science, which serves as a template for development and thus as a model or is used for comparison, is called a reference architecture .