Course Information for CS252: Graduate Computer Architecture

Spring 2018

Catalog Description: Graduate Computer Architecture

4.0 units. Three hours of lecture plus one hour paper discussion per week. Prerequisites: CS152 or equivalent.

Class Schedule/Rooms

Lectures: Monday and Wednesday, 2:30-4:00pm, 306 Soda Hall
Paper discussion: Monday, 4-5pm, 405 Soda Hall
Both midterms held in class during lecture times.

Instructor: Krste Asanović, Professor, CS Division, EECS Department
Email: krste at eecs
Office Hours: Wednesday 9:30-10:30am, 579 Soda Hall (email to confirm)

TA: Donggyu Kim
Email: dgkim at eecs
Office Hours: Thursdays 2-3pm, 611 Soda Hall

TA: Howard Mao
Email: zhemao at eecs
Office Hours: Tuesdays 10-11am, 611 Soda Hall

Course Grading

15% Problem Sets

We will distribute 5 problem sets for you to practice your understanding of the course material. The problem sets also provide essential background material for the mideterms. The problem sets will be graded primarily on an effort basis, but if you do not work through the problem sets you are unlikely to succeed at the midterms! We will distribute solutions to the problem sets soon after the problem sets are due to give you instant feedback.

15% Paper readings

Paper summaries are posted as private notes on the Piazza thread for each paper. Each summary should include one paragraph summarizing main content of paper including good/bad points, plus 1-3 questions to contribute to paper discussion. We will not count the two lowest weeks' grades, which includes absence, but please send in summaries even if you cannot attend class.

30% Exams

There will be 2 midterms (15% for each) covering the class material. These will be closed book with no calculators, phones, smart watches, or computers allowed.

40% Class Project

Substanial research project by pairs of students, with 10-page conference-style paper and class presentation.

Late Assignment Policy

Problem sets must be handed in at the beginning of class on the due date, with no extensions possible. No other extensions will be given, unless for serious documented emergencies. An automatic F grade is given if the course project is not completed.

Collaboration Policy

The problem sets are intended to help you learn the material, and we encourage you to collaborate with other students and to ask questions in discussion sections and office hours to understand the problems. However, each student must turn in their own solutions to the problems.

Regrade Policy

For addition errors in the total score, return the midterm back to the TA to get it fixed. For regrades, return the midterm to the TA within a week of the midterm being graded with a separate sheet of paper explaining the discrepancy. The staff will carefully regrade the entire midterm, read the reasoning provided, and then make a final decision. Since the entire midterm is being regraded, it is possible the total score could go down as a consequence of previously undiscovered mistakes being found. We therefore recommend that regrade requests only be used when the case is strong and a significant number of points are at stake.


The course will use Piazza for class communication. The course page can be found at

Compute Resources

All labs will be available on {icluster6, icluster7, icluster8, icluster9}.eecs. You may want to use other servers for writing code or compiling, and you can see a full list of them at inst.


The following textbook is highly recommended for the course:

TextBook Picture J. L. Hennessy and D. A. Patterson, Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, 6th Edition, Morgan Kaufmann Publishing Co., Menlo Park, CA. December 2017.
ISBN13: 978-0128119051
ISBN10: 0128119055

We will also use material from the companion Web site.

The following textbook is recommended to refresh your background and to provide a simpler introduction to some of the basic concepts. Any recent edition should be sufficient for background study.

D. A. Patterson and J. L. Hennessy, Computer Organization and Design RISC-V Edition: The Hardware Software Interface, 1st Edition, Morgan Kaufmann Publishing Co., Menlo Park, CA., April 2017. 
ISBN13: 978-0128122754
ISBN10: 0128122757