In this 6-unit course, each student will write a technical paper-like document (maximum of 12 pages) about an architecture topic that she/he gets interested in as the course proceeds. The student's selection of the topic should be coordinated with, approved by and supervised by one of the course instructors. The document has to survey the current and past research work on the topic. In addition, the document has to include the student's vision about the future of the topic. The document will count for 60% of the overall grade. At the end of the semester, each student will deliver a presentation on her/his topic. The presentation will count for 30% of the overall grade.

Below is a note on how to read a research paper. More information on how to conduct a survey on research work and write a research-like paper will be posted later on this webpage.

Date Assigned Due Date Project Link
Jan 14 Feb 13 A Survery on an Architecture Topic

A note on how to read/critique a research article

The papers/articles that you will read about a certain computer architecture topic will be selected by you. Please make sure that you select high-quality and relevant papers. You can always check with your instructor about the paper that you want to read. When you start reading a paper, try to approach it with positive thinking while critiquing. If you feel that you do not understand some of the presented concepts, ask your instructor for a clarification. It is generally helpful to first understand the big-picture of the paper's main idea then delve into details. You can always apply your experience and common sense to see if the promoted arguments are valid. Asking yourself the following questions may help while critiquing: Are the proposed principles/methods/approaches/ideas strong enough? Are the suggested ideas applicable to present-day architecture organizations (especially if you are reading a classical/old work)? Or have things changed dramatically that the proposed ideas/principles are no more applicable?

Before you start reading/critiquing: Read the following articles on: (1) how to read a research paper, and (2) how to critique a paper. With respect to critiquing, keep the following points in your mind (most of the points are taken from the article on "how to critique"):

  • Do you find errors of fact and interpretation? (This is a good one! You won't believe how often authors misinterpret or misrepresent the work of others. You can check on this by looking up for yourself the references the author cites.)
  • Is all of the discussion relevant?
  • Have any ideas been overemphasized or underemphasized? Suggest specific revisions.
  • Are the author's statements clear? Challenge ambiguous statements. Suggest by examples how clarity can be achieved, but do not merely substitute your style for the author's.
  • What underlying assumptions does the author have?
  • Has the author been objective in her/his discussion of the topic?
  • If the paper is classical (and old!), is there any new paper that sheds a new light on the discussion?