Course Syllabus

Catalog Description: Computer architecture using processors, memories, and I/O devices as building blocks. Issues involved in the design of instruction set architecture, processor, pipelining and memory organization. Design philosophies and trade-offs involved in Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) architectures.

Prerequisites: ECE 375

Instructor: Justin Goins
When corresponding via email, please always include your specific course number in the subject line (e.g. CS472ECE472CS572, or ECE572).

Office: 2103 Kelley Engineering Center
Office hours: 11am-12:30pm Fridays

Course content

  • Performance measurements
  • Instruction set design
  • Computer arithmetic
  • Processor: data path and control design, pipeline design, memory system, I / O design, parallel systems

Student Learning Objectives

  1. Use various metrics to calculate the performance of a computer system
  2. Identify the addressing mode of instructions
  3. Determine which hardware blocks and control lines are used for specific instructions
  4. Demonstrate how to add and multiply integers and floating-point numbers using twos complement and IEEE floating point representation
  5. Analyze clock periods, performance, and instruction throughput of single-cycle, multi-cycle, and pipelined implementations of a simple instruction set
  6. Detect pipeline hazards and identify possible solutions to those hazards
  7. Show how cache design parameters affect cache hit rate
  8. Map a virtual address into a physical address
  9. For ECE 572 (or aggressive undergraduate): Extra project of: Parallel programming assignment

General Information

  • Graduate students enrolled in ECE572 or CS572 will be held to a higher standard than their undergraduate cohorts. You should expect that graduate students may have additional assignments or alternative exams to test for proficiency.
  • I attempt to answer all emails within 48 hours (excluding weekends). I often respond much faster.
  • Remember to use your TAs because they are the ones who execute, read, and grade the assignments.
  • Laptop/tablet usage is strongly discouraged during lecture. You may use an electronic device for note-taking but please ensure that your usage is not distracting to the individuals around you.
  • Cell phones and other mobile devices should be silenced and away during lecture. Repeated use of a cell phone or distracting device will result in you being asked to leave the lecture.

Attendance Policy

  • Lecture: Required. Do not expect a private tutorial if you skip lectures. A student who is absent from class due to illness or family emergency should notify instructors as soon as possible (by e-mail). Notifying instructors and discussing missed work is the responsibility of the student.
  • Exams: Required. If you are unable to attend an exam you should notify the instructor at least one week in advance via email. If the absence is due to a valid excuse (as determined by the instructor) then a make-up exam will be arranged. Missing an exam without prior arrangements will result in a grade of zero on that exam. If there are legitimate extenuating circumstances, please contact the instructor to explain your situation. All decisions made by the instructor are final.

In serious situations or when the student is unable to contact instructors, the student or family members may contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 541-737-8748 for assistance. The Office of Dean of Students will provide notification of the absence to the student's instructors and the college head advisor. Students are reminded that providing false or misleading information to obtain an excused absence is a violation of student conduct regulations and may result in university student conduct action. Please see the student conduct page for more information.

Grading Information

Grades will be posted on the grade page of Canvas as they become available.

  • All projects must be submitted electronically by 11:30pm on the due date at the TEACH website.
  • Only a single late homework assignment allowed. Only allowed up to 2 calendar days late (submit via TEACH).
  • If your homework does not compile, for any reason, no credit will be given.
  • Unless otherwise specified, compilation will be tested on These machines are the final say on whether your code compiles.
  • All homework must be submitted in order to pass the course. Students missing assignments at the end of the term will automatically receive an F grade.
  • You must pass the final project to pass this class. If you fail the final project you should expect to receive an F as your final course grade.
  • If you have a complaint regarding the grade you received on an assignment or exam, talk to the individual who graded the work in question. If you are unable to come to an amicable resolution, you may confer with the instructor to explain the situation. The instructor will make a final decision as to the fairness of the grade.

Grading Scale

Letter Grade Percentage
A >= 92.5
A- >= 90 - 92.5
B+ >= 87.5 - 90
B >= 82.5 - 87.5
B- >= 80 - 82.5
C+ >= 77.5 - 80
C >= 72.5 - 77.5
C- >= 70 - 72.5
D+ >= 67.5 - 70
D >= 62.5 - 67.5
D- >= 60 - 62.5
F < 60

Course Weighting

Quizzes - 10%

Assignments - 40%

Midterm Exam - 20%

Final Project - 30%

Assigned Textbook

Title: Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface (5th edition)
Author(s): David Patterson & John Hennessy (2014)
Publisher: Waltham, MA: Morgan Kaufmann
Paperback ISBN: 978-0124077263

Additional papers and online resources will be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty

Students are encouraged to work together and learn from one another. However, you are expected to turn in your OWN work for every assignment. Assignments are NOT group projects and you should expect all assignments to be checked for similarities with others in the class, prior class assignments, and work published online. You should never be copying someone else's work and changing a small amount of that work, such as variable names, comments, spacing, etc. During group assignments you and your partners may turn in one assignment per group with everyone's name attached. Working together is not allowed on exams. If you utilize online code examples then you need to cite the resource and author(s). You are expected to be familiar with section 4.2 of the Oregon State University Code of Conduct.

Paying someone to complete your work is unacceptable and will result in immediate referral to the Office of Student Conduct! Cheating and plagiarism are not taken lightly!

You will receive a zero on your first abuse of these rules, and in the case of shared work, the student sharing the work and the student copying the work will both receive zeros. In addition, the academic dishonesty charge will be documented and sent to your school's dean and the Office of Student Conduct.

Disability Accommodations

Accommodations for students with disabilities are determined and approved by Disability Access Services (DAS). If you, as a student, believe you are eligible for accommodations but have not obtained approval please contact DAS immediately at 541-737-4098 or at DAS notifies students and faculty members of approved academic accommodations and coordinates implementation of those accommodations. While not required, students and faculty members are encouraged to discuss details of the implementation of individual accommodations.

Students with documented disabilities who may need accommodations, who have any emergency medical information the instructor should be aware of, or who need special arrangements in the event of evacuation, should make an appointment with the instructor as early as possible, and no later than the first week of the term. Class materials will be made available in an accessible format upon request.

Religious Accommodations

Oregon State University recognizes a diverse group of students and the university accommodates diverse religious holidays. Please see the OSU Equal Opportunity and Access website for additional information on the religious accommodation process.

The fine print...

Note that the course summary shown below is automatically generated by Canvas and will expand as the class progresses.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due