pete > courses > Computer Architecture (CSCI 0202), Spring 2019

Computer Architecture (CSCI 0202), Spring 2019

Who Peter C. Johnson (pete@midd)
Where McCardell Bicentennial Hall 632
When A: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 9:05–9:55 AM
B: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 10:10–11:00 AM
Tutoring info here

Schedule (tentative)

11 Feb introduction, overview, and some physics
13 Feb transistors!
15 Feb no class: Winter Carnival
Assignment 1 available
18 Feb combinatorial logic
20 Feb storage elements
22 Feb memory
Assignment 2 available
25 Feb signed and unsigned integers in binary
17 Mar floating point, ASCII, Unicode, and beyond
01 Mar finite state machines
04 Mar a traffic light
06 Mar beginnings of a computer
Assignment 3 available
08 Mar beginnings of assembly language
11 Mar computer internals and memory
13 Mar ADD and MOV
Assignment 4 available
15 Mar LDR and STR
18 Mar a first assembly program; memory architectures
20 Mar no class---midterm exams handed out 9am-12pm
21 Mar midterms due before 12pm
22 Mar control structures: branch and compare
Assignment 5 available
01 Apr assembly programs and the toolchain
03 Apr Linux, C, and variables
05 Apr control structures in C and assembly
Assignment 6 available
08 Apr arrays and structs in C and assembly
10 Apr memory layout and I/O in C
12 Apr no class: Spring Symposium
15 Apr functions I
Assignment 7 available
17 Apr functions II
19 Apr pointers I
22 Apr pointers II
24 Apr pointers III
Assignment 8 available
26 Apr The Heap
29 Apr arrays and pointer arithmetic
01 May caching I: intuition
03 May caching II: fully associative and direct mapped
Assignment 9 available
06 May caching III: set associative
08 May pipelining
10 May final review
13 May Python, course evals, tutor evals


Your semester grade will be calculated thusly:

Assignments 60%
Midterm exam 15%
Final exam 25%

Regarding late homework, I hereby grant each student two (2) 24-hour extensions to be used at their discretion at any point in the semester. If you decide you use an extension, please email me before the official due date with a note to that effect. When the time comes, turn in your assignment via the normal procedure.

For each day an assignment is turned in late without the use of an extension, 25 points will be subtracted from the final score (out of the 100 possible for each assignment). Convincingly extenuating circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Requests for regrades will be accepted for any assignment through the beginning of finals period (20 May). Regrades are a chance for you to show that your original submission was closer to a working solution than the grade you received otherwise reflects. Your case will be significantly strengthened by showing the set of changes you made to your original submission to make it work.

Midterm Exam

The midterm exam will be handed out on the afternoon of Thursday, 21 March, to be handed in at the beginning of class the following day during class on Wednesday, 20 March, to be handed in before noon the following day. You may work wherever you like as long as all the work on your exam is your own: the honor code will apply.

Final Exam

The final exam will be a take-home. You will pick it up from Ruben at any point during the finals period and return it no more than 24 hours later. Ruben will hold extensive office hours during that period to answer questions about the course material from those who have yet to begin the exam; hand out and receive exams; and answer questions pertaining to the exam itself from those who are in the process of taking it. All completed exams must be submitted no later than 10pm on the last day of finals period.


Logisim Evolution

If you have difficulty installing or running Logisim Evolution, please get in touch with our ASI, Ruben Gilbert.

Please use the original Logisim, available here:

I have created a version of Logisim with colors customized to be better distinguishable by those who are red-green colorblind, available here. I can create additional variations if necessary.


There is no required textbook. I will make suggestions for readings (both online and dead-tree) here and while covering specific topics.


Students who have Letters of Accommodation in this class are encouraged to contact me as early in the semester as possible to ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion. For those without Letters of Accommodation, assistance is available to eligible students through Student Accessibility Services. Please contact Jodi Litchfield or Courtney Cioffredi, the ADA Coordinators, for more information: Michelle Audette can be reached at maudette@midd or 802-443-2169 and Jodi Litchfield can be reached at litchfie@midd or 802-443-5936. All discussions will remain confidential.

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