CMSC 611: Advanced Computer Architecture

TuTh 4:00-5:15, LH 5

Recent changes marked in red
  • Thu Dec 4 23:25:02 EST 2003
  • Tue Dec 2 17:46:34 EST 2003
  • Tue Nov 25 15:44:24 EST 2003
  • Mon Nov 24 12:03:24 EST 2003
  • Instructor: Dr. Marc Olano (olano
    ITE 354 (455-3094); Office Hours: Tue Thu 2:45-3:45

    TA: Yifang Liu (yifliu1
    ITE 340; Office Hours: Thu 5:20-7:20

    Prerequisite: CMSC 411 or equivalent

    Text: Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, 3rd edition, John L Hennessy and David A Patterson. Required.

    Goal: Develop an understanding of the principles and practices employed in the design and evaluation of processors and computer systems.

    Class Web Page

    Important announcements and updates will be made to this class web page throughout the semester ( I will announce at the beginning of class if I make a significant change or addition.


    Your grades will be based on homework assignments given approximately every other week, an in-class mid-term, a cumulative final exam, and a final project (done in pairs). The total grade breakdown will be as follows:

    20%:   Homework
    25%:   Mid-term exam
    25%:   Final
    30%:   Project

    Electronic Submission

    Assignments and the final project are to be submitted electronically by midnight at the end of the day they are due using the submit program on the systems. You can use ssh to access the gl systems remotely. The submission commands for homework 1 would be:

    submitproj cs611   lists project names (HW1, etc)
    submit cs611 HW1 file(s)   submits your files for HW1
    submitls cs611 HW1   lists previously submitted files
    submitrm cs611 HW1 file(s)   removes previously submitted files

    Note that the submit commands and project names are case sensitive. If turning in an assignment late, submit to HW1-late rather than HW1.

    Late Policy

    Assignments submitted up to one week late will be penalized 20 percent of the possible score. Assignments more than one week late will receive a score of 0. Each student gets one free "late" (i.e. up to one week late without penalty, but still zero if later than one week) to apply to any of the assignments. Your free late must be claimed in writing on or before the due date.

    Academic Honesty

    By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC's scholarly community in which everyone's academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong.

    All assignments in the course are expected to be your individual work. You may discuss assignments with anyone. Any help you receive, however, must be documented. At the beginning of each program or assignment, you must include a comment indicating the sources you used while working on it (excluding course staff and text) and the type of help you received from each. If you received no help, say so. Failure to include this comment will result in your program being returned ungraded.

    Tentative Schedule

    Homeworks are marked to show whether they will be due on the Tuesday (Tue) or Thursday (Thu) of each indicated week.

    Readings should be completed before the first date listed below for maximum benefit. In many cases, the readings may be lengthy (covering most of a 1000+ page book over the course of the semester). You are, of course, free to choose your own strategy. At the very least, I'd recommend skimming the readings before class then re-reading difficult sections in depth after class. Without a doubt, prior exposure to the concepts we will be covering will aid your understanding.

    Date Topic Reading Due dates
    Aug 28 Introduction    
    Sep 2,4 Cost, Performance & Benchmarking Ch 1  
    Sep 9,11 Instruction set design Ch 2  
    Sep 16,18 Compilers and ISA; (Hurricane Isabel) Ch 3 Tue: HW1 (1.3, 1.21)
    Sep 23,25 Pipelining & Pipeline Hazards Ch 4 Tue: Select Team and Project by email
    Sep 30,Oct 2 Instruction-level parallelism   Thu: HW2 (2.5, 2.12)
    Oct 7,9 Scoreboard, Tomasulo    
    Oct 14,16 Review, Midterm Tue: HW3 (3.3, 3.8, 4.3)
    Oct 21,23 VHDL See VHDL links below  
    Oct 28,30 Exam review, cache Ch 5  
    Nov 4,6 Cache, memory   Thu: HW4 (3.24=15pt extra credit)
    Nov 11,13 Storage and I/O Ch 7 Tue: HW4 (VHDL)
    Nov 18,20 Introduction to parallel systems Ch 6 Thu: HW5 (5.13, 5.21; 5.27=15 pt extra)
    Nov 25 Shared & Distributed memory    
    Dec 2,4 Interconnection networks, case studies Ch 8 Thu: HW6 (6.1, 7.2; 6.37=15 pt extra)
    Dec 9 Review   Tue: Project hardcopy in class
    Dec 11 Final exam, 3:30 – 5:30, LH5

    VHDL Resources

    Class Resources

    There is a class email list for announcements and student questions: Feel free to also use this list as a means to ask questions of me or your fellow students. The list will only accept mail from subscribed addresses. I have pre-subscribed the address for each student enrolled in the course as of Friday, August 22nd. You can add, change or remove your address subscription using the web interface at To subscribe a address, you'll need to use the email interface, documented in the ListProc Users FAQ at