Course Information for CS252: Graduate Computer Architecture

Fall 2007

Catalog Description: Graduate Computer Architecture (4)

Three hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: CS152. Graduate survey of contemporary computer organizations covering: early systems, CPU design, instruction sets, control, processors, busses, ALU, memory, I/O interfaces, connection networks, virtual memory, pipelined computers, multiprocessors, and case studies. Term paper or project is required.


Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30-11:00AM, 203 McLaughlin

Instructor: Krste Asanović, Associate Professor, CS Division, EECS Department
Email: krste at eecs
Office Hours: Mondays 1-3pm, 645 Soda Hall

TA: Rose F. Liu
Email: rfl at eecs
Office Hours: 5-6pm Tuesdays or by appointment, 751 Soda Hall

Course Grading

5%Prerequisites quiz (second week of class)
10%Class participation
15%Summaries of readings
30%Two, in-class, closed-book midterms
40%Class project (work in twos or threes)

See also Departmental Grading Guidelines for Graduate Courses.


TextBook Picture J. L. Hennessy and D. A. Patterson, Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, 4th Edition, Morgan Kaufmann Publishing Co., Menlo Park, CA. 2006. 

ISBN: 978-0-12-370490-0
ISBN10: 0-12-370490-1        Book/Paperback

Companion Web site: Click Here
Note that the 4th edition is significantly different than the other editions, and it is not recommended that you attempt to use the earlier editions for this course.

Background Reading

If you need to brush up on the prerequisites for the class, we recommend the following book:
TextBook Picture D. A. Patterson and J. L. Hennessy, Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface, 3rd Edition, Revised Printing, Morgan Kaufmann Publishing Co., Menlo Park, CA., June 2007. 

ISBN13: 978-0-12-370606-5
ISBN10: 0-12-370606-8 Paperback

Prerequisites Quiz

There will be a prerequisites quiz in class on Thursday September 6th. The quiz will be closed book and no calculators are allowed. We will post sample questions and solutions in the first week of class. We will hold a review session during class on Tuesday September 4th.

Reading Summaries

You will be assigned readings both from the textbook and from selected classic papers. We will assume you have read the associated material before class, and are ready to take part in a discussion during class.

Paper readings will be assigned on Thursdays, and will be discussed on Tuesday mornings in class. You will also have to turn in a short 1/2 page summary for each paper, guided by a set of assigned questions.

We encourage you to discuss the textbook and assigned paper readings with your peers and the class staff, but the 1/2 page paper summaries you hand in must be completely your own work.

Midterm Exams

There will be two in-class midterms covering the lecture material and assigned readings. These will be closed book with no calculators or computers allowed. We will distribute sample questions and solutions ahead of time to help you to prepare. There is no final exam in this class.


An important component of the class will be a substantial course project. Students should work in groups of two or three to prepare a 10-page conference-style paper (ACM format) and a public presentation on a research topic of their choice. In previous years, exceptional projects from this class have led to publications in leading computer architecture conferences and we hope to continue this tradition.

We will provide a list of course project suggestions and resources within the first few weeks of class. Students are also encouraged to suggest topics that overlap with their research interests. In the second half of the term, we will hold several project meetings with each group to provide advice and to make sure you are making satisfactory progress.

The public presentations will be held in the last week of classes (December 3-7, room and schedule TBD), and the project report is due on Monday December 10.