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18-447 Introduction to Computer Architecture – Spring 2013

Welcome to the wiki for 18-447, Introduction to Computer Architecture for Spring 2013!

Course Information


Computer architecture is the science and art of selecting and interconnecting hardware components and designing the hardware/software interface to create a computer that meets functional, performance, energy consumption, cost, and other specific goals. This course introduces the basic hardware structure of a modern programmable computer, including the basic laws underlying performance evaluation. We will learn, for example, how to design the control and data path hardware for a MIPS-like processor, how to make machine instructions execute simultaneously through pipelining and simple superscalar execution, and how to design fast memory and storage systems. The principles presented in the lecture are reinforced in the laboratory through the design and simulation of a register transfer level (RTL) implementation of a MIPS-like pipelined processor in Verilog. In addition, we will develop a cycle-accurate simulator of this processor in C, and we will use this simulator to explore processor design options.

  • Prerequisites: 18-240 and (15-213 or 18-243) and (18-320 or 18-340 or 18-341 or 18-348 or 18-349)


Subject to change.

Meeting Times

  • Lecture: Mon., Wed., & Fri. 12:30PM – 2:20PM, Hamerschlag Hall B103
  • Lab
    • Section A: Tue. 10:30AM – 1:20PM, Hamerschlag Hall 1303
    • Section B: Thu. 1:30PM – 4:20PM, Hamerschlag Hall 1303
    • Section C: Fri. 6:30PM – 9:20PM, Hamerschlag Hall 1303


There is no required textbook. But we recommend several textbooks below which may be helpful supplements to the material covered in the lectures, labs, and homework assignments. You can place orders for these books at the CMU bookstore.

  • Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface, Fourth Edition by Patterson and Hennessy, Morgan Kaufmann/Elsvier.
  • HDL Compiler for Verilog Reference Manual by Synopsys, Inc. /afs/ece/class/ece447/docs/synopsys/top.pdf.
  • Introduction to Computing Systems: From Bits and Gates to C and Beyond, Second Edition by Patt and Patel, McGraw-Hill.
  • Computer Organization by Hamacher, Vranesic, and Zaky, McGraw-Hill.
  • Computer Architecture and Implementation by Harvey Cragon, Cambridge University Press.
  • Structured Computer Organization by Andrew Tanenbaum, Prentice Hall.

Staff Information


Name E-mail Office Phone Office Hours
Instructor Onur Mutlu Hamerschlag Hall A305 (412) 268-1186 Wed. 2:30–3:30PM (or by appointment)
Grad TA Justin Meza CIC 4th Floor Thu. 11AM – 1PM
Grad TA Yoongu Kim CIC 4th Floor Fri. 4 – 6PM
Undergrad TA Jason Lin CIC 4th Floor Tue. 2 – 3PM
Thu. 1 – 2PM
Admin. Assistant Shannon Lown Hamerschlag Hall Course Hub (412) 268-5448

Building Locations

home.txt · Last modified: 2013/05/20 00:38 by justinme