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CSC1 741  :   Computer Architecture II

Prerequisites:   Graduate course of CSCI 641,  Computer Architecture I


EENG 741 Computer Architecture II 3 credits

Introduction to Computer Architecture,  Discussions of the advancements in computer architecture,  of and beyond the Von Neumann Architecture.  This will include pipelined machines.  RISC machines, parallel architectures,  distributed architectures, and language directed architectures.

Expanded Description

Computer architecture is a vibrant and ever changing area; this course will attempt to convey that to students. It focuses on the design and implementation of computer architectures, as well as techniques for analyzing and comparing alternative computer organizations. Students will learn about styles of computer implementation and organization from a historical and modern perspective.  Traditional concepts such as pipelining, instruction-level parallelism, memory hierarchies, and input/output architectures will be discussed.   Further, modern issues such as data speculation, dynamic compilation, communication architecture,  and VLSI scaling concerns will be introduced and discussed. Cutting-edge paradigms such as low-power wireless,  nano and quantum computing will be examined.

Course Goals

This course introduces students to :

Out-of-the-box information environments, spanning ever-present or pervasive computing, context-aware and context-sensitive systems,  information appliances,  mobile computing,  wearable computing and  ambient computing.

It is expected that upon successful completion of the course,  students will have knowledge in the following area :

  • Introduction to Computer Architecture

  • Discussions of the Advancements in Computer Architecture

  • Of and beyond the Von Neumann Architecture

  • Pipelined Machines

  • RISC Machines

  • Parallel Architectures

  • Distributed Architectures

  • Language Directed Architectures given the course description.


Furthermore,  the goals of this course are to extend and deepen the student's knowledge and understanding of Computer architecture and the associated design and analysis techniques recently introduced.  It examines previously studied architectures and data movement more rigorously and introduces the student to  "new"  algorithms and data structures representations.    


In addition to the textbook, this course includes a number of readings from research papers.  Such papers are important for a number of reasons,  not the least of which is to understand that design decisions are not always black and white. Students will also undertake a major computing systems analysis and design project of their own choosing.


Course Textbook  :

J. L. Hennessy and D. A. Patterson, Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, 3rd Edition, Morgan  Kaufmann Publishing Company,

Menlo Park, CA. 2001. 


Detailed Course Schedule


  • Plan for the semester; Review: Key abstractions.

  • Review: Instruction Set Arch,CISC/RISC,pipeline, hazards, comp opt.

  • Memory Technology

  • Storage Technology

  • Cache wrap-up.

  • Case Study: Network Embedded Architecture

  • Latency Tolerance, Multithreading

  • Low-Power Design

  • *Configurable* Architecture

  • Network Processor Arch

  • Micro Architecture - Hazards, Dynamic schedule

  • Programming PervasiveApplns

  • Supers-calar Processor Design: Techniques

  • Vector Processors/MM inst.


Course Projects

Student will be given a list of suggested projects.   This will be discussed at a later stage.

Software:   A Simulator will be given during the course running.

Distribution of Notices and Course Handouts

Handouts to each student will be made available soon.  We will mainly use my lecture notes (as you will get them later).


Marking Scheme:

There will be 4 assignments worth 10 marks each, a midterm exam worth 30 marks, and a final exam worth 30 marks.

Exams are open book.   There will be no make-up exams. Discussions among students are encouraged but all assignments must be done independently.  Negative marks will be given to copiers and copies.


Course Web:

The course web site is under construction and will be available soon.   The course web site will contain most materials for the course, including class notes, practical sheets, project and assignment sheets, and selected readings.

Teaching Activities


There are two classes each week at 7 pm on Saturday and Monday, consisting of a formal component, followed by a demonstration related to the practical  (if any).

Tutorials:  There are a number of tutorials as will be posted later. Graduate Attributes Developed. The University has defined a set of graduate attributes to specify broad core knowledge and skills associated with all undergraduate programs. 


This course addresses these attributes as follows:



Contributions from this Course

In-depth knowledge of the field of study

Computer Architecture,  RISC and Parallel  Processing

Effective Communication

Working as a team on projects  and assignments

Independence and Creativity

Generating ideas for and receiving feedback on project and assignments

Critical Judgment

Defining and analyzing problems in project and assignments

Ethical and Social Understanding

Project and project mentoring provides philosophical and social context of discipline


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