Course Websites

CS 233 - Computer Architecture

Last offered Fall 2024

Official Description

Fundamentals of computer architecture: digital logic design, working up from the logic gate level to understand the function of a simple computer; machine-level programming to understand implementation of high-level languages; performance models of modern computer architectures to enable performance optimization of software; hardware primitives for parallelism and security. Course Information: Prerequisite: CS 125 or CS 128; CS 173 or MATH 213; credit or concurrent enrollment in CS 225.

Related Faculty


Logic and Computer Design Fundamentals,
by M. Morris Mano and Charles R. Kime. (Published by Prentice-Hall), 2008.
Fourth Edition 2008 ISBN: 0-13-198926-X

Computer Organization & Design: The Hardware/Software Interface,
by David A. Patterson and John L. Hennessy. (Published by Morgan Kaufmann)
Second Edition: 1998 ISBN: 1-55860-428-6
Third Edition: 2004 ISBN: 1-55860-604-1
Fourth Edition 2008 ISBN-13: 978-0123744937

Verilog HDL: A Guide to Digital Design and Synthesis,
by Samir Palnitkar. (Published by Prentice Hall).
Second Edition:2003 ISBN: 0-13-044911-3

Learning Goals

Learning Goal 1: be able to design modest combinational circuits (20 - 30 gates) from an natural language (e.g., English) specification (2,6)
Learning Goal 2: be able to secure data through encryption using bitwise operations (2,6)
Learning Goal 3: be able to design finite state machines of moderate complexity (~10+ states) from a natural language specification. Furthermore, they should be able to implement these FSMs using a collection of gates and flip-flops. (2,6)
Learning Goal 4. be able to analyze the design of a simple processor, specify the control signals for supported instructions, and modify it to implement new instructions. (1, 6)
Learning Goal 5: be able to translate small (20 line) C programs that include recursion and pointers into MIPS assembly, observing calling conventions and stack management. (1, 2, 6)
Learning Goal 6: be able to write code that uses memory-mapped I/O and interrupts given interface documentation. (2, 6)
Learning Goal 7: be able to demonstrate an understanding of the performance pitfalls of pipelined processors with cache memory systems by predicting the performance of code fragments on simple pipelines and cache memory systems. (1, 2, 6)
Learning Goal 8: be able to optimize the cache performance of a simple loop nest through cache-aware programming techniques (2, 6)
Learning Goal 9: be able to describe how virtual memory abstracts the memory system and provides security (2, 6)
Learning Goal 10: be able to recognize synchronization, coherence, and consistency pitfalls that could impact the execution's result or performance of simple programs executing on a shared memory parallel processor. (1, 6)
Learning Goal 11: be able to work in small groups on open ended problems (2, 5, 6)

Topic List

  1. Representation of information with binary bits (e.g., Unsigned binary, 2's complement)
  2. Combinational design (e.g., truth tables, logic gates, modular design, hierarchical design)
  3. Sequential logic design (e.g., flip-flops, finite state machines)
  4. Computer organization (e.g., register files, ALUs)
  5. Assembly language programming
  6. Input/output strategies for computer architectures
  7. Pipelining (e.g., pipeline stages plus resolving structural, data, and control hazards)
  8. Caches (e.g., block size, associativity, and optimizing code for caches)
  9. Virtual memory and disks
  10. Survey of approaches to parallelization (e.g., SIMD, multi-core, cache coherence)

Required, Elective, or Selected Elective


Computer ArchitectureAL163733LCD40900 - 1050 T R  0035 Campus Instructional Facility Craig Zilles
Computer ArchitectureAL272275LCD40900 - 1050 T R  0035 Campus Instructional Facility Craig Zilles
Computer ArchitectureOL164513OLC40900 - 1050 T R    Craig Zilles
Computer ArchitectureOL272276OLC40900 - 1050 T R    Craig Zilles