TU Delft
print this page print this page     
2016/2017 Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science Master Electrical Engineering
Processor Design Project
Responsible Instructor
Name E-mail
Dr. S.D. Cotofana    S.D.Cotofana@tudelft.nl
Contact Hours / Week x/x/x/x
Education Period
Start Education
Exam Period
Course Language
Expected prior knowledge
To be able to complete the project the student has to have Digital Systems and VHDL knowledge. Moreover before embarking in this course she/he has to successfully complete the following courses: ET4 074 Modern Computer Architecture and ET4 170 Computer Arithmetic courses.
Course Contents
This is an integration course that is aiming to let the students utilize computer architecture and arithmetic theoretical knowledge in the design of a general purpose processor. In this line of reasoning they have to improve the performance of a MIPS-based computing platform (Plasma) by focusing on computer architecture and arithmetic relevant parts of it. As a start point for this project students have to utilize the Plasma archive available on the Processor Design Project ET4 171 Blackboard page. To evaluate the new core a benchmark suite and a Virtex4 ML410 FPGA board are given.
Study Goals
The course study goals are as follows:

1. The student can perform, assuming certain processor architecture and requirements, a design space exploration and select the most appropriate algorithms for the implementation of the basic functional units.

2. The student can integrate computer arithmetic and computer architecture knowledge and utilize them in order to design/optimize processors.

3. The student is able to evaluate processor performance based on benchmarks and take the appropriate architectural decisions in order to improve on various design metrics.

4. The student can design arithmetic units and processors and implement them using FPGA technology.

5. The student is able to operate in a small team and collaborate for the successful completion of a design assignment.

6. The student can communicate his/her proposal, experimental results, and conclusions in English using the appropriate technical language in written as well as orally.
Education Method
Lectures and Project.
Literature and Study Materials
There is no dedicated study material but the students are advised however to utilize as supporting study material ”Computer Arithmetic: Algorithms and Hardware Designs”, Behrooz Parhami, Oxford University Press, NY, 2000, and ”Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach”, J.L. Hennessy and D.A. Patterson, 4th edition. Moreover we encourage you to utilize the IEEE Explore library to find research publications that may help you in the successful project completion.
To complete the course students have to submit the project archive of the new core they developed, a report describing their approach and findings, and to give a short presentation of their project in the context of a symposium.

The new core functionality is verified and all projects are checked for (between groups) plagiarism. Non functional designs do not pass the project. Plagiarism can also make you fail.

Your final score for the project is determined based on the following criteria:

• The performance of your design (DP). The benchmark scores you report are important. The higher the benchmark score you get the better but this is not the only relevant aspect. In the performance evaluation we also take into consideration the other metrics with more emphasis on the compound ones.
• The technical merit of your approach (TM). Aspects as innovation level and implementation quality are considered.
• The report (R). Report organization, content, and language are important aspects at this point.
• The presentation (P). Here we also look at the capability to ask questions and to answer questions from the auditorium.

The ET4 171 final grade is computed as:

Grade = 0.35*DP + 0.35*TM + 0.20*R + 0.10*P - C,

where C can assume values between 0 and 1 and reflects:

(i) the lack of collaboration in the group;
(ii) the amount of consultancy you asked me for during the project completion. If the group is functioning like a team and you do not ask too much help C is 0, otherwise it can get values up to 1.