CS 465 - Computer Systems Architecture - Fall 2017

George Mason University
Mondays and Wednesdays from noon to 1:15pm, Robinson Hall A 111.
Professor Daniel A. Menasce'
Course office hours: Mondays from 3:00pm to 4:00pm or by appt; e-mail at all times
Phone: 703-993-1537
E-mail: menasce at gmu dot edu (please prefix the subject of your message with CS465)

CS 465 Home Page


CS465 is a 3-credit course with grade of C or better in CS 367 (Computer Systems and Programming) as prerequisite. This course provides an introduction to the fundamental concepts in computer architecture. Topics include: basic system components, performance measurements, instructions and their representation, number representation, implementation of arithmetic operations, processor organization, pipelining, and memory hierarchy.

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As an outcome of taking this class, a student will be able to

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Grades are based on homework assigments (HA), a midterm (MT), a final exam (FE), class participation (CP), and surprise quizzes (SQ). Grades will be numerical on the scale 0-100. Your final numerical grade, G, is computed as:
G = 0.40 * HA + 0.25 * MT + 0.25 * FE + 0.05 * CP + 0.05 * SQ

The following table is used to convert your numerical grade G to a letter grade:

letter grade
[98,100]  A+
[93,97)  A
[88,93)  A-
[84,88)  B+
[80,84)  B
[76,80)  B-
[72,76)  C+
[68,72)  C
[64,68)  C-
< 64  F

There is no curving. No extra credit assignments will be given after the semester is over to increase grades.

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Introduction Chapter 1
Performance Chapter 1
Instruction Set Architecture Chapter 2
Arithmetic Chapter 3
Processor Chapter 4
Memory Hierarchy Design Chapter 5
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Required readings:

  1. Computer Organization and Design: the Hardware/Software Interface, 5th edition, John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson, Morgan Kaufmann, 2014.
  2. Slides.
Other recommended readings:
  1. Articles from IEEE Computer.
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First Day of Classes  August 28, 2017. 
Labor Day (no classes) September 4, 2017
Columbus Day Recess (no classes) October 9, 2017.
Makeup class for Columbus Recess October 10, 2017.
Midterm  October 16, 2017.
Thanksgiving (no classes) November 22, 2017.
Last day of classes December 6, 2017.
Final Exam December 18, 2017 from 10:30am to 1:15pm
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No collaboration is allowed among students in any of the individual assignments and exams./class
No open laptops or tablets are allowed in class. Studies have shown that students who use laptops in class, even for note taking, learn less than those that do not use laptops. Cell-phones should be muted or turned off. Students are not allowed to text or use their cell phones in class.
Please ensure that the assignments are submitted on-time. No late submissions.
There will be no make up exams.
Please visit the Office of Academic Integrity's Web page and read Mason's Honor Code.
Please arrive in class on time as a courtesy to the instructor and to your colleagues.

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Last updated: July 18, 2017.