Computer Organization and Architecture

Instructor Textbook Schedule Course Work Assignments
Labs Deadlines Collaboration Grading

This course provides a solid introduction to both traditional and alternative computer architectures. Course material is organized into the following units:


Henry M. Walker

Office: Science 2420
Telephone: extension 4208
Office hours are posted weekly on the bulletin board outside my office.
Additional hours can be scheduled by appointment.
If you wish, you may reserve a half hour meeting by signing up on the weekly schedule.


Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Structured Computer Organization, Third Edition,. Prentice-Hall, 1990.

Course Work

This course will involve laboratories, written assignments, programs, and tests.

  1. Laboratories: Formal laboratories are scheduled each Tuesday. Each laboratory will contain a variety of questions and problems; written responses are due the Friday following a lab. While not required, collaboration within a group is strongly encouraged for laboratory work.

  2. Written Assignments and Programs: Exercises will be assigned regularly throughout the course, and normally all work covering the material for a week is due on the following Monday. (Work for the last week, however, is due on Friday, December 12.) There will be a penalty for turning papers or programs in late. Papers over two weeks late and any work after Friday, December 12, will not be accepted.

  3. Hour Test: Following the Tentative Class Schedule, the class will include a take-home test and a one-hour test. The take-home test will be given out on Wednesday, October 8 and due on Wednesday, October 15. The one-hour, in-class test is scheduled for Friday, November 6.

  4. Programs: Several programming problems will be assigned throughout the semester.

  5. Exam: Following the published exam schedule, an exam is scheduled for 9:00 am on Tuesday, December 16, during exam week.

Late Penalty: Work is due at the start of class on the date specified in the assignment. A penalty of 33 1/3 % per class meeting will be assessed on any work turned in late, even work submitted at the end of a class. Thus, work turned in 4 days late will be weighted -33 1/3 %; since a negative score reduces a semester total, it is better not to turn the work in at all.
Exception: Deadlines for programming problems and laboratory exercises are automatically extended at least one class day if the HP network is down for an unscheduled period of 3 or more hours during the week preceding the assignment due date. (In such cases, however, deadlines for written assignments are not extended.)

Absolute Deadline: All homework must be turned in by Friday, December 12 at 5:00 pm.


The work in this course is split between individual and group work. Students are encouraged to work together on laboratory exercises. However, since this course seeks to develop individual understanding and mastery as well, collaboration is not allowed on written assignments, programs, or tests.


This instructor's grading philosophy dictates that the final grade should ultimately be based upon each student's demonstration of his or her understanding of the material, not on the performance of the class as a whole nor on a strict percentile basis.The following scheme is proposed as a base for how the various laboratories, assignments, programs, and tests will be counted in the final grade.

Laboratory Write-ups: 30% Take-Home Test: 15%
Programs and Assignments: 25% In-Class Test 10%
Exam: 20%

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created August 14, 1997
last revised August 18, 1997