Course Syllabus

Course Overview

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, hardware multithreading, shared memory architecture, and GPU. See here to check the prerequisites and restrictions for this course.

The course Piazza page is your best source for the course information. 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

Following topics will be covered in this course (subject to change).

Administrative Information


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


  • Your grades will be computed according the following weights:

    Evaluation Components
    Homework (up to 5) 150 pts
    Clicker 50 pts
    Class Project 150 pts
    Mid-Term Exam I (July 22 - in class) 200 pts
    Mid-Term Exam II (August 5 - in class) 200 pts
    Final Exam (August 16 - Time/Location: TBD) 250 pts
    Max. Points Possible 1000 Points

  • Written tests will be graded using GradeScope. The course roster will be sync'ed with the university roster. To log in, use the "School Credentials" button below the text boxes for the email and password.

  • Your grades will be entered to the grade server in the end. Once we have graded any class material (e.g., exams and assignments) 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.

  • Score distribution will be reviewed at the end of the semester and the cutoffs will be set between two scores with significant gaps compared to the ones above and below. Note that the cutoff for A and B can still be set at 90% and 80%, respectively.

  • For the homework assignments and the project, 12 percent late penalty will be applied if you submit within 24 hours from the due.

  • No late submission will be accepted after 24 hours.

  • We will discuss the solutions to Clicker questions in class and no makeup points will be given when you are absent or experience technical difficulties. Instead, you do not need to click correct answers for all Clicker questions to receive the full Clicker credits. Expect 50% correct clicks for full credits.

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. If the student is found to be responsible of academic dishonesty, the typical sanction results in a special grade "XF", indicating that the course was failed due to academic dishonesty. If you have any doubt as to whether an act of yours might constitute academic dishonesty, please contact your TA or the course coordinator.

Online-Posting of Your Project Implementations is Not Allowed

Examples of Academic Integrity Violations

Additional information can be found in the sections titled "Academic Integrity" section in the "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. You will report your absence by using 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 should 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 health care provider. This documentation must clearly recommend the student to be off from all school work and indicate the time frame (from/to dates) that the student is 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 Evaluations

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 © 2019. 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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