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18-447 Introduction to Computer Architecture – Spring 2014

Welcome to the wiki for 18-447, Introduction to Computer Architecture for Spring 2014!


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 ARM-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, CIC 4th floor Panther Hollow
  • Recitation
    • Section A: Tue. 11:00AM – 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 CIC 4105 (412) 268-1186 Wed. 2:30–3:30PM (or by appointment)
Teaching Assistant (PhD) Rachata Ausavarungnirun CIC 4th Floor (I will be in the ECE Coves during my office hours) Wed. 4:30–6:30PM
Teaching Assistant (IMB) Xiao Bo Zhao ECE Coves (HH 1300 Wing) Tues. 4:30–6:30PM
Teaching Assistant (IMB) Varun Kohli ECE Coves (HH 1300 Wing) Thurs. 4:30–6:30PM
Teaching Assistant (IMB) Paraj Tyle ECE Coves (HH 1300 Wing) Fri. 3:00–5:00PM
Admin. Assistant Shannon Lown Hamerschlag Hall Course Hub (412) 268-5448

Building Locations

start.txt · Last modified: 2014/05/15 12:46 by rachata