Course Information for CS252: Computer Architecture and Engineering

Fall 2015

Catalog Description: Graduate Computer Architecture

4 units. Three hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: CS152 or equivalent, or permission of instructor.

Class Schedule/Rooms

Lectures: Monday and Wednesday, 9:30am-11:00pm, 320 Soda Hall

Instructor: Krste Asanović, Professor, CS Division, EECS Department
Email: krste at eecs
Office Hours: TBD, 579 Soda Hall (ASPIRE Lab, email to confirm)

TA: Adam Izraelevitz
Email: adamiz at eecs
Office Hours: Thursday 3-4pm, 579 Soda Hall (ASPIRE Lab, email to confirm)

Course Grading

Course grade is based on four major components: Paper reviews and discussions, weekly problem sets, midterm, and final course project.

Paper assignments (15% = 5% for written reviews plus 10% for in-class discussion)

Papers (~2) are assigned for almost every lecture, and each student must read and review the papers individually. Papers have already been assigned for the entire course to encourage early reading. Paper reviews are due Sunday @ 11:59pm before a Monday lecture, and Tuesday @ 11:59pm before a Wednesday lecture. Paper reviews consist of a 200-300 word review of the strengths and weaknesses of the paper, as if the paper was being discussed at a program committee meeting at the date the paper was written. Late reviews will receive zero credit. Students will receive 5% credit for the writeups themselves and 10% credit for participation in class discussion of the papers. The lowest two days' scores for reviews will be ignored in the final grading; no separate extensions or slip days will be provided.

Problem sets (15%)

Problem sets will be assigned weekly on Monday, and each student will answer the questions individually (unless collaboration is explicitly allowed). All problem sets are due Sunday @ 11:59pm. Late problem sets will receive zero credit. The lowest two problem set scores will be ignored in the final grading - no separate extensions or slip days will be provided.

Midterm (30%)

In-class midterm exam on Wednesday November 4. Covers material (lectures and reading) up to and including Wednesday October 28. Closed book, no notes, no computers/phones. Test will emphasize understanding not memorization.

Class Project (40% = 15% final presentation plus 25% final paper)

The class project should be on a topic that could become a paper at a top architecture conference (ISCA, ASPLOS, MICRO, HPCA). Students must work in groups of 2 on the project. A project proposal is due at 11:59PM on Sunday October 25, and should consist of a two-page PDF writeup with title, co-authors, and a description of the problem you're attacking, what has been done previously, what your new approach is, what resources you'll use to complete the project, and you're expected milestones along the way. The later part of the semester replaces weeks of lectures with individual group project meetings with the instructor to present status updates and to get feedback on project progress. The final project presentation will count for 15% of your final grade, and will be 25 minutes long with additional 5 minutes for questions, and will be given in a special session during RRR week. The final project paper should be a 10-page PDF paper in two-column conference format, and must be sent to instructor by 11:59PM on Friday December 11.

See also Departmental Grading Guidelines for Graduate Courses


We'll be using Piazza for communication in the class. Sign up here.


The following textbook is required for the course:

TextBook Picture J. L. Hennessy and D. A. Patterson, Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, 5th Edition, Morgan Kaufmann Publishing Co., Menlo Park, CA. 2012.
ISBN: 978-0-12-383872-8

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.

TextBook Picture D. A. Patterson and J. L. Hennessy, Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface, 5th Edition, Revised Printing, Morgan Kaufmann Publishing Co., Menlo Park, CA., September 2013.

ISBN: 9780124077263