Principal lecturer: Dr Simon Moore
Taken by: Part IB, Part II (General), Diploma
Past exam questions
The aims of this course are to introduce the hardware/software
interface models and the hardware structures used in designing
computers. The first seven lectures are concerned with the
hardware/software interface and cover the programmer's model of the
computer. The last nine lectures look at hardware implementation
issues at a register transfer level.
This is a 16 lecture course primarily lectured by Simon Moore.
The course is split into two parts.
Part I - The Hardware/Software Interface
The first part of this course covers the programmer's model of the
- 1 - introduction to the course and some background history
- 2 - historic machines: EDSAC vs Manchester Mark I
- 3 - introduction to RISC processor design and the ARM instruction set
- 4 - ARM tools and code examples
- 5 - operating system support + memory hierarchy & management
- 6 - Intel x86 instruction set
- 7 - Java Virtual Machine
Part II - Hardware Structures
The second part of this course looks at hardware implementation issues
at a register transfer level.
- 8 - memory hierarchy (caching, etc.)
- 9 - executing instructions - an algorithmic viewpoint
- 10 - basic processor hardware: pipelining & data paths
- 11 - extending the ARM pipeline - including load and branch delay slots
- 12 - internal and external communication
- 13 & 14 - N-105 processor design
- 15 - data-flow & comments on future directions
The lecture on 19th October was cancelled, so there will only be 15
lectures for this course
Original syllabus indicates that a MIPS processor design will be
presented. This was to provide a concrete example of a Verilog
implementation of a processor. For various logistical reasons it was
felt that more work was needed on the MIPS design and handouts, so the
N-105 processor design lectured in previous years will be presented
instead to maintain the high quality of the course material.
- Hennessy, J.L. & Patterson, D.A. (2002). Computer Architecture:
A Quantitative Approach. Morgan Kaufmann (3rd ed.). (2nd
edition, 1996, is also good)
- Patterson, D.A. & Hennessy, J.L. (1998). Computer Organization and
Design. Morgan Kaufmann (2nd ed., as an alternative to the above).
Handouts and Workshops
- Copies of the handouts will be made available at the first lecture
and subsequently from the Student Administrator in the William Gates Building.
Please note that the handouts only give an
outline of the course. Annotations and additional examples are given
in the lectures.
- If paper copies of the handouts are not available for some reason,
the PDF notes for
part 1 and
part 2 are
available for people in the cam.ac.uk domain.
workshops for Part 1B students (not taken by Diploma and Part II(gen) students)
- Example divide code for lecture 4
There are three lab exercises (ECAD & Architecture workshops 4, 5 and 6)
taken by Part 1Bs only. There are two Tripos questions for Part 1Bs and Diplomas this academic year.
Past exam questions: