CSE141L: Introduction to Computer Architecture Lab

Schedule and Slides Labs

Warren Lecture Hall 2111

Lecture: W 6:00p -


Hung-Wei Tseng
email: h1tseng @ cs.ucsd.edu (Please put [CSE141LSU12] in your title.)
IM: bunnyhwtseng @ AIM
Office Hours : TuTh 11a-12p @ CSE 2218
Lab Hours: M 6p-9p, TuTh 3:30p-5:00p or by appointment

Teaching Assistants

Mark Gahagan
email: mgahagan @ cs.ucsd.edu (Please put [CSE141LSU12] in your title.)
Lab: CSE B250-B270
Lab Hours: MW 3:30p-6p, Tu 3:30-6:30p

Michael Goldberg
email: mrgoldbe @ cs.ucsd.edu (Please put [CSE141LSU12] in your title.)
Lab: CSE B250-B270
Lab Hours: MW 11a-1p, Th 3:30-7:30p

Course Discussion Board

csemoodle. Required reading. Get signed up. You should also be subscribed to the discussion forums for the course

Course Description

This is the laboratory class associated with cse141: Introduction to Computer Architecture. Over the course of the quarter, you will design a processor that implements a large subset of the MIPS instruction set architecture. It will provide you the chance to grapple first-hand with the issues of processor design.

Text books

Required: Patterson & Hennessy, Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface, Patterson & Hennessy, Morgan Kaufmann, 4th Edition


There are two ways to get an "A" in this class. One is to implement a working pipelined MIPS processor by the end of the quarter that executes simple programs compiled using the GCC cross compiler. This is the grading option you should strive for. You can get an "A+" by adding some interesting and exciting feature to your processor during the final lab.

Doing well (i.e., getting an "A" or "A+") in the course will also demonstrate your ability to build a large, complex computer system.

The other way to get a good grade is to do well on the labs. If your processor doesn't turn out as well, I will consider your performance on the labs and participation (see below). Your grade will be at least the maximum of the "your processor works" grade and the lab assignment grade.

In addition to the labs, you should be an active contributer to the web board. The tools are challenging and sometimes buggy. Your classmates (in addition to the course's staff) are an excellent resource for help with the tools.

This class is about doing. You will learn almost everything you learn in this class by doing it. This means that you (or your team) must do all your own work. As long as you meet this criteria, you can consult with and discuss your project with other groups. We have structured the course (by not having a curve) so that there is no incentive to be stingy with your knowledge of the tools or in sharing your expertise with your classmates.

Late lab write ups If you cannot complete you lab on time, you can turn it in late, but your grade will be penalized. The penalty is one letter grade per 24 hours extension. Up to 2 extensions are possible. For example, if the labs are due at 5pm, you have until 5pm the next day to turn it in with one letter grade penalty, and until 5pm the day after to turn it in with a two letter grade penalty, and so on.

Keep in mind that even if your lab write up is late, you are still responsible for completing the lab, since the labs build on one another.

Labs 100% There are five labs of equal weight.

Schedule and Slides

2012/8/6Introduction and Lab 1 PreviewTips for using Altera toolsIntroduction
2012/8/8Lab 2 PreviewLab 2
2012/8/9Lab 1 Due
2012/8/15Lab 3 PreviewLab 3
2012/8/16Lab 2 Due
2012/8/22Lab 4 PreviewLab 4(Updated 2)
2012/8/23Lab 3 Due
2012/8/29Lab 5 PreviewLab 5
2012/8/30Lab 4 Due
2012/9/06Lab 5 Due

Integrity Policy

  • Cheating WILL be taken seriously. Doing otherwise is not fair to honest students. It is also not fair to allow the cheater to thing that it is a reasonable alternative in life.

  • Please review the UCSD student handbook for more details on Academic Integrity.

  • Anyone copying information or having information copied during a test will receive an F for the class and will not be allowed to drop. They will be reported to their college dean. If you can prove non-cooperative copying took place, your grade may be restored, but you must prove it to the dean--I don't want to be involved. Anyone caught cheating or falsely representing the work of others on the homework will not be allowed to turn in further homework. Your grade will be based exclusively on the tests with a penalty of 25% OR GREATER applied.

  • We photocopy a random sampling of the exams in order to ensure that students do not modify their tests after they have been returned.

  • Online solutions, etc.: A solutions manual exists for this text. Using it, or any solutions you may find on the internet elsewhere IS CHEATING and will be dealt with accordingly. We know what the solution manual solutions look like. Homework is a small fraction of your grade, so cheating on it is unproductive.


Lab1: Be a hardware hacker!

Lab2: Single cycle datapath!

Lab3: Single cycle control!

Lab4: Single-Cycle with Branches!

Lab 5: 5-Stage MIPS Processor