This course is an intensive introduction to the fundamentals of computer architecture. Relying heavily upon the elementary principles taught in ECE 220, ECE 385, and ECE 391, we will discuss the basic design, or architecture, of computing hardware. Computer systems involve architecture design at many levels. We will focus on the instruction set architecture (ISA) level (the interface between the software and computing hardware) and the microarchitecture level (the computing hardware itself). We will examine to some extent, the level above the instruction set (the programming language level) and the level below the microarchitecture (the logic gate level) in order to deepen our understanding of computing systems. This course has a demanding design component; you will implement some of the basic concepts presented in lecture using real hardware design tools.
ECE 391 or CS 241
It is also heavily recommended that you complete ECE 385 before taking this course.