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Fall 2016
Instructor: Karu Sankaralingam; URL:
Email: Include CS752 in subject line
Meeting time: CS 1263, T,Th: 9:30am to 10:45am
Office hours: T,Th 10:45-noon
TA: Taylor Johnston,
TA Office hours: W 12:00-2:15
Course URL:
Mailing list:



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. We will learn, for example, how uniprocessors execute many instructions concurrently and why state-of-the-art memory systems are nearly as complex as processors. We will also learn how VLSI technology has evolved and influenced the design of ISAs and the internal working of processors. At the end of this course you will be able to appreciate the technical rationale behind the clock-speed race in the 90s, reason for its demise, and the reasons why industry is moving towards multi-core chips.

You will learn all the details of a how a processor works, starting from the low-level transistor technology to how they can be integrated to build a full microprocessor. The course includes a large project component in which you will design/analyze a component of a processor. Projects will be in-depth and high impact - you will learn a lot about actual system design.


Examining tradeoffs requires that you already know how to design a correct computer. CS/ECE 552 as is taught is the important prerequisite. CS 537 is also a prerequisite, but it is less important, and may be taken concurrently or adequately covered with external reading. Learn@UW links for this course.

I am using some parts of the Learn@UW system. You can view your grades and use the discussion board. Go to Learn@UW.

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