CS465: Computer Systems Architecture (Spring 2015)
1 Course Basics
Meeting Time and Location:
- T 4:30-7:10pm, Robinson Hall A111
Instructor: Dr. Yutao Zhong
- Email: yzhong (at) gmu (dot) edu
- Office: Engineering Building 5337
Graduate TA: TBA
- Be able to explain the organization of the classical von
Neumann machine and its major functional components
- Be able to compare performance of simple system configurations
and understand the performance implications of architectural
- Be able to show how instructions are represented at both the
machine level and in the context of a symbolic assembler; be
able to understand small MIPS programs and write MIPS assembly
- Be able to use different formats to represent numerical data
and convert numerical data from one format to another
- Be able to explain how an instruction is executed and the
concept of datapaths and control
- Be able to explain basic instruction level parallelism using
pipelining and the major hazards that may occur
- Be able to explain the effect of memory latency on running
time; be able to describe the use of memory hierarchy to reduce
the effective memory latency, in particular, the role of cache
and virtual memory; be able to understand the principles of
- Be able to explain the basic issues related to concurrent
C or better in CS 367.
- Required - Computer Organization and Design: the
Hardware/Software Interface, 5th edition, John L. Hennessy and
David A. Patterson, Morgan Kaufmann, 2014. Companion
Other Useful Resources:
Announcements, lecture slides, assignments, discussion. Contacts
and office hours will be on Piazza too.
Grades and assignments submitting.
Letter grades will be assigned by subjectively identifying
brackets in the numeric scores. In order to obtain an A, your
final score should be at least 90. A total score of less
than 60 will result in an F.
- Homework assignments will require some programming.
- Homework assignments must be done on an individual basis
unless stated otherwise.
- Please ensure that the assignments are submitted on-time to
Blackboard, before class begins (hard-copy and soft-copy). No
- Catastrophic computer failure will not be cause for an
extension. Use a backup service such as DropBox (or any cloud
service), emailing yourself, storing to a USB drive, whatever it
- Exams are closed book/notes unless specified otherwise by
- They will be entirely paper and pencil - no computers.
- All students must have their GMU identification available on
- If you know in advance that you are unable to make an exam for
a valid and unavoidable reason (such as a scheduled surgery,
etc), you must notify the professor at least one week before the
scheduled exam date to make arrangements for a make-up, and
bring documentation with you when you take the make-up.
- If you miss an exam due to a university-accepted excused
absence (such as an illness or car accident the day and time of
the exam), you must notify your professor within 24 hours of
your absence to make arrangements for a makeup, and bring
approved documentation with you when you take the make-up exam.
Failure to follow either of these policies will result in a
zero. We may also elect to allow the final exam to count the
extra amount to give you a sort of do-over.
- The final will not be given early. You are starting the course
with knowledge of the schedule (see GMU's Final Exam Calendar
for the latest schedule, updated as weather events require).
- Attendance is not compulsory but highly recommended for doing
well in the class.
- In-class exercises require classroom attendance and 5% grade
is devoted to it.
- Students are encouraged to use the discussion board, Piazza,
to ask and answer questions.
- No sharing answers to homework assignments on the discussion
- Under no circumstances should code be posted publicly to the
discussion board. Students can post questions and code
privately, although the instructor reserves the right to make
any post public, so that other students can see the responses.
- There will be no make-up or extra-credit assignments at the
end of the semester; your grade should be a measure of your
- Contesting of grades on any/all submissions must be requested
within one week of the item's return. No grade changes will be
considered subsequent to that deadline, or after the final exam
- IN (Incomplete) policy as indicated in the catalog will be
strictly adhered to. You must provide the necessary back-up
documentation (e.g. medical certificate) for your application to
be considered favorably. In all circumstances, the written
request, with all the back up documentation, must be received
before the final exam week.
3 Honor Code
All students are expected to abide by the GMU Honor Code.
This policy is rigorously enforced. All class-related assignments
are considered individual efforts unless explicitly expressed
otherwise (in writing). Cheating on any assignment will be
prosecuted and result in a notification of the Honor Committee as
outlined in the GMU Honor Code. Sharing, collaboration, or looking
at any code or algorithm related to programming assignments that
is not your own is considered cheating.
It is your responsibility to lock your computers with a
password, to not post your code to websites like Pastebin that are
publicly accessible, to guard your USB drives and computers, to not
upload your files to someone else's computer, etc. You will be
liable for any access gained to your code. Stating that "I don't
know how he/she got access to my code", or "I left the room and they
stole my code" are not an acceptable excuses in an honor code
The computer science department has an additional, more
Honor Code that you are also subject to. Make sure you read
and familiarize yourself with these rules. We use automated
software to flag suspicious cases, and then review them by hand to
find the cases that must be submitted to the Office of Academic
Integrity. The penalty for cheating will always be far worse than
a zero grade, to ensure it's not worth taking the chance.
Confirmed cases of cheating almost always translate into course
4 Learning Disabilities
Students with a learning disability or other condition
(documented with GMU's Office of
Disability Services) that may impact academic performance
should speak with the professor ASAP to discuss appropriate