Prerequisite courses: none, but Operating Systems would be helpful
This course is a prerequisite for Comparative Architectures (Part II) and VLSI Design (Part II).
The aims of this course are to introduce the hardware/software
interface models and the hardware structures used in designing
computers. The first eight lectures are concerned with the
hardware/software interface and cover the programmer's model of the
computer. The last eight lectures look at hardware implementation
issues at a register transfer level.
Introduction to the course and some background history.
Historic machines. EDSAC versus Manchester Mark I.
Introduction to RISC processor design and the ARM instruction set.
ARM tools and code examples.
Operating system support
including memory hierarchy and management.
Intel x86 instruction set.
Java Virtual Machine.
Executing instructions. An algorithmic viewpoint.
Basic processor hardware. Pipelining and data paths.
Extending the ARM pipeline including load and branch delay slots.
Implementation of the N-105 processor.
Memory hierarchy. Caching etc.
Buses. Internal communication pathways.
Communication interfaces and devices.
Data-flow and comments on future directions.
At the end of the course students should
be able to read assembler given a guide to the instruction set
and be able to write short pieces of assembler if given an
instruction set or asked to invent an instruction set
understand the differences between RISC and CISC assembler
understand what facilities a processor provides to support
operating systems, from memory management to software interrupts
understand memory hierarchy including different cache
appreciate the use of pipelining in processor design
understand the communications structures, from buses close to
the processor, to peripheral interfaces
have an appreciation of control structures used in processor design
* 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).
Pointers to sources of more specialist information are included in the
lecture notes and on the associated course web page.