Aviral Shrivastava: Teaching: CSE 420

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CSE 420: Computer Architecture I

Catalogue Description

Computer architecture. Performance versus cost tradeoffs. Instruction set design. Basic processor implementation and pipelining.


Computer Systems Engineering or Computer Science students and must have received a C or greater in CSE 230, CSE 330 or EEE 230 or currently enrolled in CSE 230 or EEE 230.

Course Abstract

"It (Computer Architecture) is not a deary science of paper machines that will never work. No! It's a discipline of keen intellectual interest, requiring balance of marketplace forces to cost-performance-power, leading to glorious failures and some notable successes." - Hennessy and Patterson. This course will start with bridging the gap between the high-level programming languages (e.g. C/C++, Java, perl. python) that we so conveniently use, and the low-level electronic components (e.g. transistors, AND gate, OR gate, multiplexors). This Computer Architecture course then delves into details of designing a processor. The class is divided into 4 modules, i) A simple processor design, ii) Pipelining and ILP, iii) Memory Organization iv) Multi-core processors. Starting from a simple design, we will strive to make it better. We will learn several fundamental techniques, like pipelining, caching, and parallel execution, which enable the modern computing-based world. Although this course takes the MIPS architecture as a vehicle to explain the complexities and trade-offs in computer architecture, the concepts are applicable in a much broader scope. We will take a hands-on approach to understanding computer architecture. We'll develop simulators to model and thereby understand computer architecture.


Computer Architecture - A Quantitative Approach 4th Edition
Authors - John L. Hennessey and David A. Patterson
Publisher - Morgan Kaufman, now Elsevier
ISBN: 978-0-12-370490-0

Computer Organization and Design, The Hardware/Software Interface, 4th Edition
Authors - David A. Patterson and John L. Hennessey
Publisher - Morgan Kaufman, now Elsevier
ISBN: 978-0-12-374493-7

Course Contents

Course Structure

Grading Policy

Last Updated: Aviral Shrivastava, 11/2009