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CMSC411 - Computer Systems Architecture
Spring 2018

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Administrative Information
  • Instructor: Dr. Ilchul Yoon
  • Lecture hours:Tu/Th 2:00pm ~ 3:15pm @ CSI 2107
  • E-mail: iyoon At cs
  • Office: AVW 3171
  • Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday 12:00pm ~ 1:30pm
  • TAs (Check both TA rooms -- AVW 4101 / 4103) :
    • Yuheng Lu (ylu At cs) - Office hours: Tu/Th 3:30pm - 5:30pm
    • Aliyah Shah (aliyah At shah DOT org) - Office hours: Mon/Wed 1:00pm ~ 3:00pm

  • Prerequisites
    • CMSC 330 with a grade of C- or better.

  • Textbook 

    Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, Hennessy and Patterson, 5th Edition (CAQA, H+P);
    Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann,
    ISBN-13: 978-0123838728 / ISBN-10: 012383872X

Course Description

In this course, we will study topics in computer systems architecture. We will first discuss the contents in Appendix A through C of the text (pipelining, instruction set principles, and memory hierarchy). Then, we will switch to other topics such as superscalar execution, branch prediction, dynamic scheduling, multithreading support, shared memory architecture, and storage systems. See here to check the prerequisites and restrictions for this course.

The course Piazza page is your exclusive source for course information. TA office hours, additional resources and essential course information will appear on Piazza, and all course-related questions will also be answered on Piazza to ensure all students have equal access to the information.

Course Topics (Subject to Change)
  • Introduction to computer architecture
  • Instruction set architecture
  • Pipelining
  • Memory hierarchy
  • Instruction-level parallelism (Loop unrolling, Branch prediction, Tomasulo)
  • Thread-level parallelism
  • Data-level parallelism
  • Shared-memory architecture


Final grades will be computed according the following weights:
  • Grading method

    Type Points
    Homework / Social Quizzes (7 ~ 8, in-class exercises, at least 4 announced.) 200 pts
    Class Project 200 pts
    Mid-Term Exam I  (March 1 - in class) 300 pts
    Mid-Term Exam II (Apr 19 - in class) 300 pts
    Final Exam (May 16 10:30AM - 12:30PM) 300 pts
    Max. Points Possible 1000 Points

  • Your grades will be entered to the grade server. Once we have graded any class material (e.g., exams, projects, etc.) we will post an announcement and a deadline by which you must submit any regrade request (if necessary). It is your responsibility to submit regrade requests by the specified deadline; no regrade requests will be processed afterwards. If the regrade request deadline is not announced, it is by default one week after the your grades are posted.

  • Two best exam scores will be used for the final grading. Also, you can drop one social quiz score.

  • The following are indicative of how the points on the course would be mapped to a grade. This is only indicative and may be adjusted if needed.

    A = [90-100)%, B = [80-90)%, C = [70-80)%, D = [50-70)%, F = [0-50)%

Academic Integrity

Note that academic dishonesty includes not only cheating, fabrication, and plagiarism, but also includes helping other students commit acts of academic dishonesty by allowing them to obtain copies of your work. In short, all submitted work must be your own. Cases of academic dishonesty will be pursued to the fullest extent possible as stipulated by the Office of Student Conduct.

It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit

Examples of Academic Integrity Violations

The following are examples of academic integrity violations:

  • Hardcoding of results in a project assignment. Hardcoding refers to attempting to make a program appear as if it works correctly (e.g., printing expected results for a test).
  • Using any code available on the internet/web or any other source. For example, using code from Sourceforge.
  • Hiring any online service to complete an assignment for you.
  • You may not post the implementation of your assignments, materials related to the class (e.g., project description), or any other material associated with this course. Even if the class is over and you have graduated, you may NOT post any material. If you do, you might be violating academic integrity rules and copyrights.
  • Discussing projects with your classmates.
  • Sharing your code or your student tests with any student.
  • Providing ideas/suggestions on how to solve/implement a programming assignment.
  • Looking at another student's code.
  • Using online forums to ask for help regarding our assignments.

Additional information can be found in the sections titled "Academic Integrity" and "Code of Student Conduct" available at Course Related Policies.

Disabilities Support Accommodations
In case academic accommodations are needed, you must provide a letter of accommodation from the Office of Accessibility and Disability Services (ADS) within the first TWO weeks of the semester.  For details, see the section titled "Accessibility" available at Course Related Policies.

Excused Absence and Academic Accommodations

The university allows for self-documentation for some absences.  If you need to be excused for an absence from a single lecture, recitation, or lab due to your illness (or other reasons), you shall make a reasonable attempt to report prior to the class. (Use the absence report feature in the grade server).

Upon returning to the class, present with a self-signed note attesting to the date of your illness (or other reasons).  Each note must contain an acknowledgment by the student that the information provided is true and correct.  Providing false information to University officials is prohibited under Part 9(i) of the Code of Student Conduct (V-1.00(B) University of Maryland Code of Student Conduct) and may result in disciplinary action.

Self-documentation may NOT be used for the midterm exams and the final exam, and it may only be used for only 1 class meeting (or more, if you choose) during the semester.  Any student who needs to be excused for a prolonged absence (2 or more consecutive class meetings), or for the exams, must provide written documentation of the illness from the Health Center or from an outside health care provider. This documentation must verify dates of treatment and indicate the time frame that the student was unable to meet academic responsibilities. In addition, it must contain the name and phone number of the medical service provider to be used if verification is needed. No diagnostic information will ever be requested.  Note that the "Medical Discharge Summary" from the Health Center will NOT be accepted as evidence of doctor's recommendation for your absence.

For additional details, see the section titled "Attendance, Absences, or Missed Assignments" available at Course Related Policies.

Course Evaluation

The department and faculty take student feedback seriously. At the end of the course visit to complete your course evaluations.

Although every effort has been made to be complete and accurate, unforeseen circumstances arising during the semester could require the adjustment of any material given here. Consequently, given due notice to students, the instructor reserves the right to change any information on this syllabus or in other course materials.


All course materials are copyright UMCP, Department of Computer Science � 2018. All rights reserved. Students are permitted to use course materials for their own personal use only. Course materials may not be distributed publicly or provided to others (excepting other students in the course), in any way or format. Although every effort has been made to be complete and accurate, unforeseen circumstances arising during the semester could require the adjustment of any material given here. Consequently, given due notice to students, the instructor reserves the right to change any information on this syllabus or in other course materials.

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