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Computer Organization and Architecture

Fundamentals of computer design; quantifying cost and performance; instruction set architecture; program behaviour and measurement of instruction set use; processor data paths and control; pipelining, handling pipeline hazards; memory hierarchies and performance; I/O devices, controllers and drivers; I/O and system performance.



This course is meant to be a capstone course in computer engineering that draws together concepts from across the ECE curriculum including digital logic design, computer organization, system level software, and engineering design. The course will prepare students for jobs in the computer engineering industry and can act as a springboard to more advanced material in graduate-level courses.This course can also provide a foundation for students interested in performance programming,compilers, and operating systems; and it can provide system-level context for students interested in emerging technologies and digital circuits.


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

•describe computer architecture concepts and mechanisms related to the design of modern processors, memories, and networks and explain how these concepts and mechanisms interact.

•apply this understanding to new computer architecture design problems within the context of balancing application requirements against technology constraints; more specifically,quantitatively assess a design’s execution time in cycles and qualitatively assess a design’s cycle time, area, and energy.

•evaluate various design alternatives and make a compelling quantitative and/or qualitative argument for why one design is superior to the other approaches.

•demonstrate the ability to implement and verify designs of varying complexity at the register-transfer-level.

•create new designs at the register-transfer-level and the associated effective testing strategies.

•write concise yet comprehensive technical reports that describe designs implemented at the register-transfer-level, explain the testing strategy used to verify functionality, and evaluate the designs to determine the superior approach.

Course Curriculum

Section one
Focus on what modern computer architects worry about (both academia and industry) Details 00:00:00
Get through the basics of modern processor design Details 00:00:00
Understand the interfaces between architecture and system software (compilers, OS) Details 00:00:00
System architecture and I/O (disks, memory, multiprocessors) Details 00:00:00
Look at technology trends, recent research ideas, and the future of computing hardware Details 00:00:00

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