EC 413 Computer Organization - Fall 2017

Class Syllabus

The general format of the course consists of some regular lectures, discussion sections, laboratory hours, problem sets, labs and projects.
Grading Policy
  • Participation: 10%
  • Laboratory Assignments: 10%
  • Problem Sets: 15%
  • Project: 30%
  • Midterm Exams: 20%
  • Final Exam: 15%
  • Grades will be posted on Blackboard.
  • Grades will be assigned two ways:
    • >90 [A], >80 [B], >70 [C], >60 [D]
    • Curved according to the class median. Here your relative score is what really matters, rather than the objective scores above.
Missed Class Policy

Students must contact the instructor prior to missing an exam to schedule a makeup exam. Makeup exams will only be scheduled following an exam in cases of documented emergencies.

Late Submission Policy

Problem sets or laboratory assignments or course project submitted after the due date/time are considered late and will not be graded. Late submissions will only be graded in cases of documented emergencies.


Discussion of course material and collaboration with other students is encouraged but each student must write/type and submit his/her own solution. Your essays, code and proofs (if applicable) should never contain sections which are identical to the submission of another student, past or present. Submitted work must be entirely that of the student(s) whose name(s) appear(s) on the submission and not solicited in any way from others. Violation of these policies can result in automatic failure of the course.

Please refer to the Boston University’s policy on academic dishonesty.
Tentative Schedule
Monday Wednesday

Sep 4 - Labor Day

Sep 6 - L01

A brief history of computer systems

Syllabus and administration

Problem Set 0

M. Kinsy

Sep 11 - L02

Information representation: Bit, Byte, ...

Unsigned and signed Integer, floating point

Problem Set 0 DUE

Problem Set 1

M. Kinsy

Sep 13 - L03

C/C++ language review: Functions, Recursions, Pointers

M. Kinsy

Sep 18 - L04

Stack and Heap structures

Problem Set 1 DUE

Laboratory Assignment 1

M. Kinsy

Sep 20 - L05

Program compilation process

M. Kinsy

Sep 25 - L06

Instruction Set Architecture (ISA)


Laboratory Assignment 1 DUE

Problem Set 2

M. Kinsy

Sep 27 - L07

Assembly language

M. Kinsy

Oct 2 - L08

Assembly language programming

Problem Set 2 DUE

Laboratory Assignment 2

M. Kinsy

Oct 4 - L09

Computer component primitives: digital timing, MUXes, busses, tri-states

M. Kinsy

Oct 10 - L09

Arithmetic logic unit (ALU) and register files

M. Kinsy

Oct 11

Midterm Exam I

Lectures L01 - L08

M. Kinsy

Oct 16

In class hands-on simulation activity

M. Kinsy

Oct 18 - L11

Central Processing Unit (CPU) Organization

M. Kinsy

Oct 23 - L12

CPU: Processor Pipelining

Problem Set 3

Laboratory Assignment 2 DUE

M. Kinsy

Oct 25 - L13

CPU: Data and control hazards

M. Kinsy

Oct 30 - L14

CPU: Hazard Resolution

M. Kinsy

Nov 1 - L15

CPU performance evaluation

Problem Set 3 DUE

Project Announcement

M. Kinsy

Nov 6 - L16

Memory Primitives

M. Kinsy

Nov 8

Midterm Exam II

Lectures L09 - L15

M. Kinsy

Nov 13 - L17

Memory Organizations

M. Kinsy

Nov 15 - L18

Caching Principles

Project Part 1 DUE

M. Kinsy

Nov 20 - L19

Cache structures

M. Kinsy

Nov 22

Thanksgiving Recess

M. Kinsy

Nov 27 - L20

Memory Mapped I/O

M. Kinsy

Nov 29 - L21

Interrupt Handling

M. Kinsy

Dec 4 - L22

Introduction to Virtual Memory

M. Kinsy

Dec 6 - L23

Performance/Project Discussion

Project Part 2 DUE

M. Kinsy

Dec 11


M. Kinsy

Dec 13


M. Kinsy

Dec 18

Final Exam (Exam III)

Monday, December 18th, 9:00am - 11:00am

M. Kinsy

M. Kinsy