CIS 501 (Fall 2005): Introduction To Computer Architecture
Instructor: Prof. Milo Martin
Office hours: Tues/Thur 4:15-5:15 (or by appointment)
Lecture: Hielmeier Hall, Tues/Thur 12-1:30)
Course E-mail address: cis501@cis
TA: Tingting Sha
Office hours: Levine 310, Monday 12:30-2:00pm, Tuesday 1:30-3:00pm
TA: Andrew Hilton
Office hours: Levine 310, Wednesday 2:00-3:30pm and Friday 11:30-1:00pm
Administrative Assistant: Cheryl Hickey (firstname.lastname@example.org) - 502 Levine Hall - Turn in late/early homework to her.
- Monday - 12:30-2:00pm in Levine 310 (Tingting Sha)
- Tuesday - 1:30-3:00pm in Levine 310 (Tingting Sha), 4:15-5:15pm (Prof. Martin)
- Wednesday - 2:00-3:30pm in Levine 310 (Andrew Hilton)
- Thursday - 4:15-5:15pm (Prof. Martin)
- Friday - 11:30-1:00pm in Levine 310 (Andrew Hilton)
Papers & Discussion Questions
Digial Library Links
The ACM and IEEE digital libraries can be accessed from off-campus by using the
following Penn proxy links:
This course is a graduate course on computer architecture with an emphasis on a
quantitative approach to cost/performance design tradeoffs. The course covers
the fundamentals of classical and modern processor design: performance and cost
issues, instruction sets, pipelining, caches, physical memory, virtual memory,
I/O superscalar and out-of-order instruction execution, speculative execution,
long (SIMD) and short (multimedia) vector execution, multithreading, and an
introduction to shared memory multiprocessors.
CIS501 is a graduate-level course on computer architecture that assumes
significant prior knowledge of computer organization and architecture (do not
be mislead by the word "Introduction" in the course title). You should already
be familiar with hardware caches, instruction execution pipelines, basic logic
design, and some assembly-level programming. Students will have expected to
have had a course that covers the material in a textbook such as Patterson and
Hennessy's "Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface".
Penn's CSE371 is an
example of such a course.
If you do not have the appropriate background, you should either consider not
taking the course or spend significant time review this textbook and the
Previous CIS501 Offerings
This course will be somewhat different than in previous years. However, this
course is based on Prof. Roth's previous offerings of CIS501 over the last few
Reading Materials and Resources
We will use one textbook:
Those of you who feel that you are lacking in certain areas may want to
acquire a copy of:
- Hennessy and Patterson, "Computer Architecture: A quantitative Approach" (THIRD edition).
I will supply you with any additional reading material. Also, class notes will
be available on-line from the course schedule page.
Hard copy versions will be available at the beginning of each class, and extra
copies will be placed in bins outside of Levine 502.
- Patterson and Hennessy, "Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface"
Grading breakdown for the course is as follows:
- Mid-term exam: 25%
- Final exam: 35%
- Project: 20%
- Homework: 15%
- Paper Reviews: 5%
There will be a mid-term exam and a final exam. The final exam will be
cumulative and will be held on Friday, December 16 from 9:00-11:00 (the
assigned final time slot for the course). The final exam will also count as
the PhD Architecture WPE I exam.
An important part of the course-from both an educational and a grading
standpoint will be a mini research project. You will do the project in groups
of 3 (or maybe 4) students. The project deliverables consist of a proposal, and a 4000
word conference-format final report. The default project is to explore some
small extension to a concept we study in class, to validate the experimental
data in some paper, or to evaluate an idea of your own. More details about the
project will be available as the semester progresses.
There will be four or five homework assignments, each consisting of problems to
be worked out by hand and some short simulation work using SimpleScalar.
Homework is due at the beginning of the class period for which it is assigned.
As for late homework, you have four "grace" days (24-hour days, not class
periods) to use to hand in late homeworks. Once you have exceeded these four
days, late work will not be accepted unless you make prior arrangement
We will read several papers from the research literature during this course.
Before we discuss the paper in class, you will meet in groups of three to four
students to discuss the paper and write a concise response to a few high-level
questions about the paper. To avoid the same groups for each paper, you may be
in a group with a student at most once.
Academic misconduct such as cheating will not be tolerated. The work you
submit in this class is expected to be your own. If you submit work that has in
part or in whole been copied from some published or unpublished source
(including current or former students), or that has been prepared by someone
other than you, or that in any way misrepresents somebody else's work as your
own, you will face severe discipline by the university. (Adapted from text
appearing at the Office of Student Conduct page.)
Any detected cases of cheating will be pursued. Penalties can include:
receiving a zero on the assignment (the minimum penalty), failing the course,
having a note placed in your permanent academic record, suspension, and
See Penn's Code of
Academic Integrity for more information.