The quantitative evaluation of computer performance is needed during the entire life cycle of a computer system. We survey the major quantitative methods used in computer performance evaluation, focusing on post-1970 developments and emphasizing trends and challenges. We divide the methods used into three main areas, namely performance measurement, analytic performance modeling, and simulation performance modeling, which we survey in the three main sections of the paper. Although we concentrate on the methods per se, rather than on the results of applying the methods, numerous application examples are cited. The methods to be covered have been applied across the entire spectrum of computer systems from personal computers to large mainframes and supercomputers, including both centralized and distributed systems. The application of these methods has certainly not decreased over the years and we anticipate their continued use as well as their enhancement when needed to evaluate future systems. © 1984, IEEE. All rights reserved.