CS 465 - Computer Systems Architecture - Spring 2013

George Mason University
Mondays 4:30pm to 7:10pm Blueridge Hall 129
Professor Daniel A. Menasce'
Course office hours Mondays 3:00pm to 4:00 PM or by appt; e-mail at all times
Phone: 703-993-1537
E-mail: menasce at cs dot 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 = 0.45 * HA + 0.20 * 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
[97,100]  A+
[92,97)  A
[88,92)  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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Week 1:  Introduction and Part 1 of Fundamentals of Quantitative Design and Analysis
Week 2: Part 2 of Fundamentals of Quantitative Design and Analysis
Weeks 3-4: Memory Hierarchy Design
Week 5: Instruction Level Parallelism
Weeks 6-7: Data Level Parallelism in Vector, SIMD, and GPU Architectures
Weeks 8: Midterm
Weeks 9-10: Thread Level Parallelism
Weeks 11-13: Warehouse-Scale Computers and Cloud Computing
Week 14: Review for the Final.
Week 15: Final Exam
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Required readings:

  1. Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, 5th edition, John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson, Morgan Kaufmann, 2012.
  2. Slides.
Other recommended readings:
  1. Articles from IEEE Computer.
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First Day of Classes  January 28, 2013. 
Spring break (no classes) March 11, 2013.
Midterm  March 18, 2013.
Last day of classes (final exam) May 13, 2013.
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No collaboration is allowed among students in any of the individual assignments and exams.
Please ensure that the assignments are submitted on-time, before class begins (hard-copy and soft-copy). 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: January 16, 2013.