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CS552: Introduction to Computer Architecture - Fall 2020

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CS552: Introduction to Computer Architecture - Fall 2020

Course Information

Semester: Fall 2020

Instructor: Karu Sankaralingam

Meeting time: Online 8:00 AM - 9:15 AM, Tuesdays & Thursdays

TA: Guanzhou Hu

Course Wiki URL:

Computer architecture is the science and art of selecting and interconnecting hardware components to create a computer that meets functional, performance and cost goals. In this course, students will learn how to completely design a correct single processor computer, including processor datapath, processor control, memory systems, and I/O. We will learn that no magic is required to make a computer work.

CS/ECE 552 serves students two ways. First, for those who will continue in computer architecture, it lays foundation of detailed implementation experience necessary to make meaningful the quantitative tradeoffs found in CS/ECE 752 and 757. Second, for those students not continuing in computer architecture, it unifies concepts introduced in CS/ECE 352 and 354 and solidifies an intuition about why hardware is as it is.

I will teach the one section of 552 8:00-9:15am Tuesdays and Thursdays. The course will be similar to 552 from Spring 2017 and Matt Sinclair's 552 from Spring 2020.

Required textbook:

David A. Patterson and John L. Hennessy, Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware and Software Interface Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Fifth Edition. ISBN: 9780124077263. NOTE: Some of the assigned readings will be from the CD included with the book.


Email me for questions about prerequisites.


  • 20% Homework
  • 10% Quiz
  • 70% Project

There will be two quizzes, equally weighted, contributing to 10% of the total grade. There is no final exam for this course.


I am using only some portions of Canvas for this course.

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students should adhere to UW Student Code of Conduct.

Page last modified on September 17, 2020, visited times

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