TU Delft
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2016/2017 Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science Master Electrical Engineering
Modern Computer Architectures
Responsible Instructor
Name E-mail
K.L.M. Bertels    K.L.M.Bertels@tudelft.nl
Dr. S.D. Cotofana    S.D.Cotofana@tudelft.nl
Dr.ir. J.S.S.M. Wong    J.S.S.M.Wong@tudelft.nl
Practical Coordinator
Name E-mail
Ir. A.A.C. Brandon    A.A.C.Brandon@tudelft.nl
Contact Hours / Week x/x/x/x
Education Period
Start Education
Exam Period
Course Language
Expected prior knowledge
Computer Architecture and Organization (ET2608 or an equivalent course on computer architecture) - processor architecture and organization, instruction set architecture, pipeline organization.
Course Contents
The course emphasises on theoretical aspects and practical trade-offs of computer architecture and organization of the newest microprocessors currently on the market, and the latest developments in computer architecture research. Quantifying design decisions in terms of performance and cost. Subjects: basic principles, instruction set architectures, pipelining and pipelining consequences, multiple-issue (superscalar and VLIW) processors, multimedia SIMD extensions, out-of-order execution, branch prediction, speculative execution, advanced memory hierarchies, pre-fetching, multithreaded processors and multiprocessors, energy consumption, and reliability.
Study Goals
1. The student can operate with concepts and notions related to:
- Instruction sets: characteristics, functions, formats, addressing modes;
- Processor structure, functions, and pipelining;
- Instruction level parallelism and its static and dynamic exploitation;
- Distributed memory hierarchy;
- Multiprocessors.
2. Given a set of functional and non-functional requirements, the student can select the most appropriate architecture among a set of different architectures of modern microprocessors.
3. She/he can optimize code for a particular processor using, e.g., code scheduling and loop unrolling.
4. She/he can perform design space exploration and quantify design decisions in terms of performance, energy consumption, cost, flexibility, programmability, predictability for various processor and multiprocessors building blocks and architecture features, e.g., instruction set, predication vs. speculation, cache vs. scratch-pad memory, in-order/out-of-order execution, message passing vs. shared memory, etc.
5. She/he can study recent advances in computer architecture, classify research papers, and report about them.
Education Method
Lectures, lab work, and reading assignment.
Literature and Study Materials
J.L. Hennessy and D.A. Patterson, Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, 4th edition, Morgan Kaufman, 2007, ISBN 0123704901.
A set of high-impact articles and presentations on computer architecture trends and practices available on Blackboard.
IEEE Explore
The lab work and assignments contribute to the final grade as follows:

Lab work 40% of the final grade,

Reading assignment 60 % of the final grade.