Computer Architecture

Instructor Information

Instructor: Larry Shi(external link)
Office Location:PGH 348
Telephone: Office – 713-743-3045
E-mail: $_ = "wshi3XXuhYYedu"; s/XX/@/; s/YY/./;
Office Hours: TuTh. 2:30pm – 3:30pm or by appointment made at least 24 hours prior


Course Information

Course Number: COSC6385
Course Name: Computer Architecture
Course Location: PGH 232
Class Times: TuTh 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Prerequisites: COSC 4330


Teaching Assistant

Name: Olga Datskova
Office Location: PGH 348
Office Hours: TuTh 11:00am - 1:00pm or by appointment made at least 24 hours prior



Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach by John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson. The 4th edition, Morgan Kaufmann. 2006. ISBN 0-12-370490-1.

Course Purpose:

This course is designed to teach fundamentals of modern computer architectures. Topics include performance, ISA, instruction-level parallelism (ILP), thread-level parallelism (TLP), dynamic scheduling techniques, out-of-order execution, register renaming, exception handling, static scheduling (VLIW/EPIC), cache/memory/DRAM/storage hierarchy design, speculation techniques, advanced branch predictor design, multiprocessor coherency issues, memory consistency models, multicore processors, and case studies e.g., the seminal P6 microarchitecture, Netburst, Core, Itanium, EM64T, Alpha 21x64, UltraSparc, etc. Also may be included are topics of new, emerging trends in architecture/microarchitecture/software development in the face of physical design challenges.


Reading Assignments 10% 1-page summary. Hard copy required. Collected in the first 5 minutes of due day in class. No late turn-in accepted.
Homework 1 10% Handwriten answers to a set of questions. Hard copy required. Collected in the first 5 minutes of due day in class. No late turn-in accepted.
Homework 2 20% Programming assignment. No late turn-in accepted.
Homework 3 20% Programming assignment. No late turn-in accepted.
Midterm Exam 20% Closed books, closed notes, no calculator unless stated otherwise.
Final Exam 20% Closed books, closed notes, no calculator unless stated otherwise.

General Rules

  • For any assignment or exam submitted in class, a submission confirmation form will be available for you to sign when you hand in your work.
  • If you do not sign the submission confirmation form, then your work will not be considered to have been submitted on time.
  • All work done in this course must be completed individually. That means no collaboration. You may discuss, but do not copy.
  • Non-adherance to any of the stated homework, exam and reading requirements will result in point deductions. Please read and follow the provided instructions carefully.


Homework 1

Deadline: 24th of February 2015, at 13:05.

Homework description available here. Solutions available here (last updated: 03/09/2015).
Submission guidelines: Hard-copy submission should be given in person to the TA before the work is due.

Note: To complete this homework you are provided with all the necessary materials as indicated in the table below. Refer to the readings as needed.

Homework 2

Deadline extended to: Tuesday, 31st of March 2015, Midnight.

NB: The assignment asks for an implementation of both global and local predictors i.e. the entire tournament predictor. For the local predictor either version (see diagram below) will be accepted: the predictor described in the paper or predictor described in the assignment


Homework description available here and code sources can be found here.
Reference paper mentioned in the description is located here.

Submission guidelines: send the final sources of my_predictor.h and additional documents (if attempting extra credit section) to both the TA and the professor in a zip/tar format. Please use the following as the subject line: COSC6385 HW2 <your name> submission.

Available resource usage and hints can be found here (updated 03/03/2015).
Ubuntu server virtual disk can be downloaded from here(external link) (~530 MB compressed and 1.7 GB uncompressed). See here (updated 03/03/2015) for login details.

Optional: Homework 2.5 - Warming up with OpenCL

Deadline: 04/23 - Midnight

This is an optional homework and allows you to receive a maximum of 10 points extra credit on final grade.
Description for the homework available here.
Dragon curve C source code available here.

Reference materials: matrix-matrix multiplcation example, OpenCL introduction slides.

Homework 3

Homework description available: here.
SHA256 source code: download here

Optional: Homework 3.5 - Exam style questions.

Deadline: Extended to Saturday 05/02 at Midnight. You are welcome to submit the work on the last day of class, however for the weekend submission you will need to submit your solution electronically. Send your solution to both the professor and the TA.

This is an optional homework and allows you to receive a maximum of 10 points extra credit on final grade.
Homework description available here.
Answers available here.

MidTerm Exam

Exam answers for version 1 available here.

Final Exam

Due to NSM Convocation two options are offered to students in terms of when they can take the final exam:

  • Option 1: Exam will be held on 5/12 from 2:00-5:00pm in our usual class (PGH232).
  • Option 2: Exam will be held on 5/14 from 2:00-5:00pm in our usual class (PGH232).

Please note that you can take only one exam: option 1 or option 2 but not both

Class Schedule and Slides

Date Topic Slides Reading Schedule Assignments out/due
1/22 Introduction Introduction(pdf), Introduction(pptx) Gordon Moore's 1965 Paper
1/27 Pipeline Pipeline(pdf), Pipeline(pptx) Chapter 1, Appendix A, B. ILP Paper Readings
1/29 ILP, ISA ILP and ISA(pdf), ILP and ISA(pptx) Chapter 2, ILP Paper Readings, ISA Paper Readings Colwell paper(external link) summary due
2/3 ISA chip manufacturing video(external link) Amdahl's Paper Readings
2/5 Performance Performance(pdf), Performance(pptx) Cache Paper Readings
2/10 Memory Cache(pdf), Cache(pptx) Homework 1 out (2 weeks). Jouppi paper(external link) summary due
2/12 Cache and Virtual Memory Cache and VM(pdf), Cache and VM(pptx) Chapter 5, VM & TLB Paper Readings
2/17 Branch Prediction Branch Prediction(pdf), Branch Prediction(pptx) BP Paper Readings
2/19 Dynamic Schedule Dynamic Schedule(pdf), Dynamic Schedule(pptx) Dynamic Schedule Paper Readings
2/24 Dynamic Schedule Dynamic Schedule(pdf), Dynamic Schedule(pptx) Homework 1 due in class. Homework 2 out (4 weeks).
2/26 Register Renaming and Precise Interrupt Dynamic Schedule(pdf), Dynamic Schedule(pptx) Memory Paper Readings
3/3 Instruction Fetch and Trace Cache Fetch (pdf), Fetch (pptx) Fetch Paper Readings
3/5 DRAM and Flash Flash (pdf), Flash (pptx) Precise Interrupt Paper Readings Smith paper(external link) summary due
3/10 Review for Midterm and Scheduler Review and Instruction Scheduler (pdf), Review and Instruction Scheduler (pptx) P4 Paper Readings
3/12 Midterm Exam
3/17 Spring Break - no class
3/19 Spring Break - no class
3/24 P6 P6 (pdf), P6 (pptx) Dataflow Paper Readings
3/26 P6 Itanium Paper Reading
3/31 VLIW and EPIC EPIC (pdf), EPIC (pptx) Homework 2 due.
4/2 VLIW and EPIC Vector Machine Paper Readings
4/7 EPIC EPIC (pdf), EPIC (pptx) GPU and MIMD Paper Readings Optional: Homework 2.5 will be out by 04/08 (2 weeks).
4/9 HW3, OpenCL SMT/Manycore Paper Readings Homework 3 out (4.5 weeks).
4/14 Vector Machine Vector machine (ppt), Vector machine (pdf) MP Paper Readings
4/16 Memory Coherence Cache Coherence (ppt), Cache Coherence (pdf) Memory Coherence Paper Readings Tullsen paper(external link) summary due.
4/21 SMT SMT (ppt), SMT (pdf) Optional: Homework 3.5 out (1.5 weeks)
4/23 GPU GPU (ppt), GPU (pdf) Optional: Homework 2.5 due
4/28 Interconnect Virtualization Paper Readings
4/30 Review Final Review(ppt), Final Review (pdf) Lenoski paper(external link) summary due. Optional: Homework 3.5 due.
5/7 No class - Study period
5/12 Option 1: Exam: 2:00-5:00 pm Location: PGH232 Homework 3 due.
5/14 Option 2: Exam: 2:00-5:00 pm(external link) Location: PGH232

Honor Code:

Students are expected to uphold the University of Houston Honor Code and to avoid any instances of academic misconduct in homework assignments and exams. Any violation will be immediately and directly reported to the Dean of Students' Affairs for further action.

Student with Disabilities:

Any student with a documented disability needing accommodations must speak with the instructor during the first two weeks of class. All discussions will remain confidential. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and may need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please visit the Center for Students with Disabilities. Please call 713-743-5400 to make an appointment with a disability specialist.

Created by admin. Last Modification: Tuesday 27 of December, 2016 22:39:56 UTC by admin. (Version 213)