pete > courses > Computer Architecture (CSCI 0202), Spring 2022

Computer Architecture (CSCI 0202), Spring 2022

Who Peter C. Johnson (pete@midd)
Where 75 Shannon St, Room 202
When A: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 10:10–11:00 AM
B: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 11:15–12:05 AM
Tutoring schedule here

Schedule (tentative)

14 Feb introduction
16 Feb transistors
18 Feb combinational logic
Assignment 01 available
21 Feb integers in binary
23 Feb floating point, ASCII, Unicode
binary format practice exercises
25 Feb storage elements
Assignment 02 available
28 Feb memory
02 Mar finite state machines
04 Mar traffic light
Assignment 03 available
07 Mar computer beginnings
09 Mar assembly language
11 Mar computer internals and memory
14 Mar ADD and MOV
16 Mar load and store
Assignment 04 available
18 Mar simple assembly program
28 Mar control structures
30 Mar assembly programs, toolchain
Assignment 05 available
01 Apr Linux, C, and variables
04 Apr control structures in C
06 Apr arrays and structs in C
Assignment 06 available
08 Apr memory layout and i/o
11 Apr functions I
13 Apr functions II
Assignment 07 available
15 Apr pointers I
18 Apr pointers II
20 Apr pointers III
Assignment 08 available
22 Apr no class: Spring Symposium
25 Apr The Heap
27 Apr arrays and pointer arithmetic
29 Apr caches I: intuition
02 May caches II: fully-associative and direct-mapped
Assignment 09 available
04 May caches III: set-associative
06 May Python
09 May my research
11 May computing these days
13 May pipelining/CPU manufacturing
16 May final review
19 May 10am-12pm, 2pm-5pm: office hours
20 May 10am-12pm, 2pm-5pm: office hours
21 May 10am-12pm, 2pm-5pm: office hours
22 May 10am-12pm, 2pm-5pm: office hours
23 May 10:15am-12pm, 2pm-3:30pm: office hours
24 May 10am-12pm, 2pm-5pm: office hours


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 last day of classes (16 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 following class on Wednesday, 30 March, to be handed in before 11am the following day. You may work wherever you like as long as all the work on your exam is your own: the honor code applies.

Final Exam

The final exam will be a cumulative take-home. You will pick it up from me at any point during the finals period, which begins Thursday, 19 May, and return it no more than 24 hours later. I 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 8pm on the last day of finals period (Tuesday, 24 May).


Digital is the software you’ll use to create and simulate your circuits. When you download it, please make sure to get version 0.29, so we’re all working with the same one. (On the right, click on the word "Releases"; scroll down to the Feb 11, 2022 release, which is marked v0.29, and click on the link labeled "". You should probably also download the associated documentation file, in your preferred language.)


There is no required textbook. I will make suggestions for readings (both online and dead-tree) 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 the Disability Resource Center (DRC). Please contact ADA Coordinators Jodi Litchfield and Peter Ploegman of the DRC at for more information. All discussions will remain confidential.

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