INFS 515 - Computer Organization [Credits: 3], Fall 2010

Computer hardware architecture concepts: number systems, machine representation of numbers, instruction set formats, addressing techniques, memory organization, internal processor structure and operation. Fundamental operating systems concepts: process synchronization and scheduling, interprocess communication, memory management, virtual memory, deadlocks, file I/O and disk management, LINUX and open source operating system case studies.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate courses or equivalent knowledge in structured programming in a high-level language.

The course includes but is not limited to the following topics:


Computer Organization and Architecture: Designing for Performance, 8/E

William Stallings
ISBN-10: 0136073735
ISBN-13:  9780136073734
Publisher:  Prentice Hall
Copyright:  2010
Textbook Web Site:

Operating System Concepts with Java, 8th Edition
Abraham Silberschatz, Yale University
Peter B. Galvin, Corporate Technologies
Greg Gagne, Westminster College
ISBN: 978-0-470-50949-4 2010
Publisher: Wiley
Textbook Web Site:

Course dates: Monday August 30 through Monday December 6
Location: Robinson Hall B224
Meeting day & time: Mondays, 7:20pm to 10:00pm. Please arrive at class on time. We will start on time, have a short break in the middle of each class session, and will finish by 10:00pm.

Blackboard:  All assignments, class announcements, schedules, files and presentations will use Blackboard

Instructor Information: David Tahmoush, Ph.D.

Emails:  In the Subject line of your email, use the prefix INFS515
For example:  Subject: INFS515: Question about Homework #1

Office location: Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 4300 (see administrator)

Office hours:  By appointment.


Teaching Assistant:  TBD,
Grading Policy

Student grades will be determined based on class participation, homework assignments, research papers, and final exam:

Grade Component


Class Participation (in class, online discussions)


Homeworks (programs, problems)


Research Paper


Final Exam


Grading Guidelines: Some assignment components are evaluated subjectively

A: consistently above and beyond the course/assignment requirements
B: meets and occasionally exceeds the course/assignment requirements
C: minimally meets the course/assignment requirements
F: fails to meet the course/assignment requirements
Some assignment components are evaluated objectively:

A  : 95-100%
A- : 90-95%
B+ : 85-90%
B  : 80-85%
C  : 70-80%

Honor Code

All work performed in this course will be subject to GMU's Honor Code. Students are expected to do their own work in the course unless a group project is approved by the instructor. In papers and project reports, students are expected to write in their own words, rather than cutting-and-pasting from sources found on the Internet. When you do use material from books, articles, and the Web, enclose the material in quotes and provide a reference. If a paragraph is used then it should be indented in the text (both left and right margins). [See Format below]


PDF required; if you create a file in plain text, HTML, StarOffice/OpenOffice, Open Document Format, or MS format, convert them to PDF before uploading. Upload all assignments to Blackboard. Papers should be formatted double-space, 10 or 12 point font, 1" margins. Use
Chicago Manual of Style for guidance on citation style, usage, etc. (Don't buy the big CMS. See the smaller A Manual for Writers by Kate Turabian).  File names should be of the form Lastname_FirstInitial_AssignmentName.pdf.  For example, Smith_J_Homework2.pdf.

Writing Style
When grading papers and assignments, I generally assign 40% to the quality and thoroughness of the description, discussion, or explanation of the specific topic; examples and diagrams to clarify the text are strongly encouraged. Another 40% is assigned for the discussion of relevance to course concepts and technologies. That is, the paper must make clear its relevance to the course material. The final 20% relates to the quality and proper use of references. Reference other work within the text of your paper, and list the references at the end of the paper in a bibliography. Proper references are essential for crediting the work of others, and to help your readers locate the referenced material. See for one example of how to cite and list references.

Assume that the audience for your paper or assignment is an intelligent reader with some computer knowledge but who is not familiar with your specific paper topic.

Programming Assignments:

When an assignment says "Write a program in C or Java that (whatever)", you must provide the

Student programming projects must adhere to the CS Honor Code.

There a several Computer Labs available for general use by IT&E students, which are located on the Fairfax campus.  For more information go to the web site at

Course programming environment for lectures & assignments will be Linux:
RHEL5, Fedora, CentOS, etc, and OpenSolaris 2009.06
You can set these up in a variety of ways:

Class Participation:  Contribute to the in-class discussions, participate in online discussion topics posted on Blackboard.  Some Blackboard discussion topics may be graded.

Other Notes: