Textbook and Recommended Readings

The text book for this course is Computer Organization & Design: The Hardware / Software Interface by Patterson and Hennessy. The optional reference for this course is MIPS RISC Architecture, by Kane and Heinrich, and the paper SPIM S20: A MIPS R2000 Simulator by J Larus will serve both as a quick reference for the instruction set and as a manual for using the xspim emulator.

Office Hours

My office is in AP&M 5141, and my office hours are Wednesdays 2:30pm-3:30pm new! (this is changed from the handout). You can make appointments for other times. You should feel free to stop by at other times as well, but I may ask you to come back at another time if I'm busy.

The TA for the course is Bryan Tower (BT). Bryan's office hours are 3pm-4pm Mondays in AP&M 3349D. The Associate TA for the course is Cynthia Bailey (CB). Cynthia's office hours are 10:10am-11:00am Mondays in AP&M 3349D.


This course will have around 6 homework assignments; some of these may be larger projects; they will mostly be done on-line. There will be an in-class midterm and a final.

Grading will be based on the following percentages:

Homework 30%
Midterm 30%
Final 40%
Grade cut-offs will be determined from ``natural'' breaks in the score distribution rather than straight percentage cut-offs or simple curving. If all of you learn the material, I will be happy to give everyone an ``A''; conversely, if none of you learn the material, I will be (less) happy to give everyone an ``F''.

As I said in class, comments will in general count for 40% of a programming assignment's grade. Comments are very important because they are how you communicate with the next programmer who has to pick up your code; if your program is not understandable, it may have to be rewritten from scratch. Real-life products have had portions thrown away and rewritten because of such problems.

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