Course Overview

Title: Seminar in Perspectives in Computer Architecture


This course will provide various perspectives in the field of computer architecture by world renowned scientists. The course will bring together basic architecture principles and designs of uniprocessor and multicore computers. First, we will introduce concepts, notations, attributes and computational elements emerged over several thousands of years. Computational elements pre and post 1900 (e.g., memory, processing and I/O elements of Babbage's Analytic Engine, Turing and Von Neumann machines) will be compared and contrasted. Second, we will identify factors that contributed to the many-fold improvements in computer performance, size, and power consumption over the last 60 years. Students will further recognize the architectural challenges imposed by the 21's century emerging applications and unfold the reasons behind the recent slowdown in performance, size and power improvements. Third, we will present few basic architectural techniques including instruction level parallelism, pipelining and memory hierarchy. An overview of multicore architectures, specifically on how they differ from uniprocessor ones, the promises they offer, and the serious challenges they pose, will also be provided. Lastly, we will survey a range of architecture types from digestible (e.g., sensors) to the largest and fastest (e.g., Clouds and supercomputers), how they came across and which to choose when. As a case use, we will focus on mobile systems, their different deployments, usage models, and challenges. The concepts delivered in the lectures will be reinforced and extended through student presentations on multiple directions in computer architecture.

Units: 6

Pre-requisites: A grade of "C" or better in 15-213 Introduction to Computer Systems



Gordon Bell, Room 2085, Phone TBD.
Office hours: Wednesday, 11am-12pm

Mohammad Hammoud, CMUQ 1013, 4454-8506.
Office hours: Thursday, 11am-12pm

Raj Reddy, Room 2109, Phone 4454-8602.
Office hours: Wednesday, 11am-12pm

Majd F. Sakr, CMUQ 1016, 4454-8625.
Office hours: Tuesday, 3-4pm

Daniel P. Siewiorek, By Skype from CMU Pittsburgh.
Office hours: Thursday, 4pm-5pm

Chuck Thacker, Room 2085, Phone TBD.
Office hours: Wednesday, 11am-12pm

Class hours

Lectures: Monday and Wednesday, 8:30 - 9:50 AM, Room 2147

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