CSE 141 -- Introduction to Computer Architecture

Announcements: 001.

Sample Final Here
URL of this webpage www.sdsc.edu/~allans/cs141/cs141.html

"90 percent of success is showing up" - Woody Allen

"The other 10 percent is preparation" - Allan Snavely

Basic Course Information:

  • Meeting times and places
  • Meeting times and places
  • Course textbook
  • Patterson & Hennessy, "Computer Organization and Design -- The Hardware/Software Interface", Morgan Kaufmann, Fourth Edition
  • Other recommended reading
  • Course Outline:
      I. Instruction Set Architecture

      II. Computer System Performance and Performance Metrics

      III. Computer Arithmetic and Number Systems

      IV. CPU Architecture

      V. The Memory/Cache Hierarchy

      VI. Pipelining

      VII. Superscalars

      VIII. Parallel Machines

    Grading Information:
    • The grade for 141 will be based on homeworks, one midterm, and a final, as follows:
      • homeworks: 0% (but 100% important!)
      • class participation and quizzes: 10%
      • midterm: 40%
      • final: 50%
      • subjective influences like class participation will have an impact in the margins -- it does pay to let the professor know who you are!
    • The final will be inclusive of all course material.
    • The grade for 141L will be based solely on 4-5 lab reports. I expect that most students will complete the lab assignments as specified; thus the quality of the lab reports will likely be the most important factor in determining grades.
    • Homework will not be turned in. Late lab assignments are not encouraged. You will have two grace days during the quarter. I.e., you can turn one lab assignment in two days late, or two assignments in one day late. I recommend not spending those days frivolously early in the quarter. After you have spent your grace days, late assignments will be accepted, but with no guarantees that they will be graded, and with significant penalties if they are. We will make every effort to return assignments to you in a timely manner -- limiting your ability to turn things in late is, unfortunately, critical to that goal.  Anytime after the end of class counts as a day late.  The second day begins 24 hours later.  The weekend counts as a single day.  Thus, something turned in Monday (before 9 a.m.!) that was due Thursday is two days late.
    • You have the right of appeal for grading on all tests; however, an appeal (except for scoring errors) covers the entire test, and may result in an unfavorable judgment on another problem. You have one week from the time the midterms are returned to make appeals, including addition errors on your score. Check it over carefully when you get it. All appeals must be made in writing and given to the instructor.
    • There is no grading of homeworks. But you need to know how to solve homework problems to pass the tests. A few homework questions will appear on the test VERBATIM. Some other test questions will be very similar to homework. There will be no posted solutions to homework. But we will be happy to assist you in discovering the right answer in office hours, reviews, and sections. Solving the homework is your responsibility and if you do it well and consistently it is sure to result in a good grade. Finding the right answer for yourself ensures you can do the same on the test.
    • STRICTLY speaking there is no curve. It is fine with me if everyone gets As. If everyone gets Fs I will retire from teaching. Every quarter I give all the grades A through F. GENERALLY speaking the average is a C, one standard deviation above is a B, two above is an A to A+, one below is a D, two below is an F. However I reserve the right to draw these lines according to the distribution. If everyone gets 90% then everyone gets As.
    • Cheating WILL be taken seriously. It is not fair to honest students to take cheating lightly, nor is it fair to the cheater to let him/her go on thinking that is a reasonable alternative in life. Don't test me on this one.
    • Tests are closed notes, closed book, closed neighbor, closed mouth, open mind, STATE YOUR ASSUMPTIONS about unclear or vague questions. Some questions are deliberately vague or ambigious in order to test your ability to make reasonable assumptions (just like in real life). Reasonable assumptions I did not anticipate will receive full marks. However it is up to me to decide what is reasonable.
    • The following is totally unacceptable and will be punished:

    • -Receiving, providing, or soliciting assistance from another student during a test.
      -Having touching or looking at a book or any writen material except the test and the blackboard during a test.
    • Penalties -- anyone copying information or having information copied during a test will receive an F for the class and will not be allowed to drop.  They will be reported to their college dean.  If you can prove non-cooperative copying took place, your grade may be restored, but you must prove it to the dean -- I don't want to be involved. 
    If you have comments or suggestions, email me at allans@sdsc.edu