CS/ECE 752 Advanced Computer Architecture I

Spring 2007
Instructor: Karu Sankaralingam; URL: http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~karu
Meeting time: MECH ENGR 1143, 01:00 PM - 02:15 PM, MWF
Office hours: Monday,Wednesday 3-4pm, Thursday: 11-12am
TA: Derek Hower
Course URL: http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~karu/courses/cs752/Spring2007/
Mailing list: compsci752-1-s07@lists.wisc.edu



Weight: 40%


Final list of projects


Project ideas




The project should explore some original research in computer architecture, validate (debunk) an idea in a published paper, explore a published idea in more detail (examine the energy efficiency of a new technique), or apply a published idea in a different context or for different workloads. Think back to the course objective: "Computer architecture is the science and art of selecting and interconnecting hardware components to create a computer that meets functional, performance and cost goals. This course qualitatively and quantitatively examines computer design tradeoffs." I expect projects to involve building or extending simulators, analytic models, or benchmarking/testing on real hardware.


You will be graded on how well you define your problem, survey previous work, design and conduct experiments, and present your results. The goal is to shoot for a conference paper, like the ones in your reader.


The key is to have well defined pieces in your project and demonstrate some aspects to be completely working. For example you may have made changes to the compiler flow, so not all benchmarks may run. But maybe you can build a solid analytical model to make your claims.



  • Projects will be groups of two.
  • Start thinking about projects around February 23.
  • A short project plan due by March 09.
  • Project proposals due by March 23. Short 5-minute talk also included.
  • Project progress reports due by April 23.
  • Project final presentations: May 11-16. Final project presentations will be 20 minute talks.
  • Final projects report due by May 18.
  • Final projects must be in 2-column conference format, less than 10 pages.
  • I will meet with each project team once a week starting April 23 (tentative).


Project ideas


Project plan

Email me a project plan by 03/09 with the following:
  1. Project partner name
  2. List of topics you have considered for the project
  3. Optional: More details and an abstract if you have one
  4. Optional (highly recommended): Meet me at least once between 03/09 and 03/23 (proposal deadline) to discuss project.



Proposals may be turned in earlier to get earlier feedback. Come and talk with me during my office hours or by appointment. Proposals should be about one-two pages long.I will accept only PDF documents. They should include:
  • Abstract
  • A description of your topic
  • Statement of why the topic is important
  • Your key insight
  • Outline of the design you are proposing (if applicable)
  • Methodology of evaluation
  • Metrics of evaluation
  • References to related work. The reader has pointers to many papers. See also the conferences page listed in the Online References. ISCA, MICRO, HPCA, PACT, ASPLOS and the important architecture conferences. Important journals in architecture include IEEE Micro, IEEE Computer, TACO, IEEE Transactions on Computers, ACM Transactions on Computer Systems.
Example template and proposal format.


Progress report

Progress reports should include a revised version of the proposal (if necessary). Primarily I am looking for a one page document describing accomplishments so far and an plan of work for the remainder of the semester. Concentrate on describing sub-tasks completed, rather than the tasks started.

Your report should include the following:

  • What parts of design specification are complete
  • Design implementations status. For example, if you are modifying a simulator, what mods are done
  • Outline of planned experiments. This can evolve and change, but I want you to have thought of an initial plan.
  • Plan for next 4 weeks:
    1. Week ending April 27
    2. Week ending May 4th
    3. Week ending May 11th
    4. Week ending May 18th; reports due 18th. You can run a few more experiments after your presentations to include final results for your report.
  • Finally, whatever questions/comments I marked on the proposal must be addressed. Include a reponse to the questions.



We will schedule a mini-conference. Each group will give a 15-minute talk and 5-minutes for questions from the class. Your talk should focus on the highlights of the project instead of getting to the gory details of each and everything you did. Motivate the problem, describe your key insight, summary your results, and point to future work.


Final report

Final reports should consist of an abstract, body and optional appendices, much like a conference paper. Submit 2-column formatted PDFs around 8 pages in length excluding appendix (if you really need more than 8 pages send me email). I encourage you to use latex, but you are welcome to use whatever tool you like as long as it generates PDF. The report should typically have the following sections: Introduction, Design, Methodology, Results, Conclusions, and References.


The abstract should summarize the contributions of the report in one or two paragraphs. Additional supporting material of any length can be put in appendices. I will read the body and only skim appendices. See your reader for examples.


Other Resources

Document preparation

  • Latex
  • Xfig - for drawing figures. /s/std/bin/xfig
  • jgraph - for drawing graphs. /unsup/jgraph
  • Generating eps/ps files using Excel. Scroll down to where it says " Plot bar chart (filled boxes)".



There are many pointers on how to make effective presentations. Here are a few: