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Computer Architecture & Operating Systems

Spring 2017

This course is designed to cover the main concepts of computer architecture (organization) and operating systems as well as a few practical IT tasks (such as scripting) with server operating systems. A multilevel machine approach to computer organization is used, with particular emphasis on the microprogramming level, the conventional machine level, and the operating system level. A simulator will be used to allow students to try microprogramming and machine language programming. The operating systems part of the course covers key operating system concepts and algorithms. In addition, it uses Linux as a case study, emphasizing system administration tasks, Linux utilities, pipes, and bash scripts.

Further Information

Help is Available

Note on Flu

Because of the possibility of the flu affecting us on campus, please practice good hand washing, etc. If a doctor will prescribe Tamiflu or similar for you, it is said that it reduces the length and the severity of the flu. If you get the flu, please notify me by phone or e-mail and stay home for 24 hours after the symptoms are over. Check with me about what you miss. You will not be penalized for missing class in this situtation. It is better to stay away from class and not spread the flu when you are ill.

Homework and Announcements

  • See Schoology


  • First Exam:
    • Mon, Feb 20
  • Second Exam:
    • Wed, Mar 29
  • Final Exam:
    • Tue, May 9, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    • May cover anything since the second exam plus some Mic1 microcode.
    • It is likely to include problems on Mac1 machine code (both in assembler notation and binary form), function call and return in Mac1 (with parameter passing), adding a new Mac1 instuction (as in the contest), the number of microinstructions needed to fetch/decode/execute a certain Mac1 instruction, expanding opcodes, RISC versus CISC, how the number of operands available for arithmetic instructions affects the coding of calculations using such arithmetic, addressing modes (especially for the PDP-11), pipelining, superscalar architecture, the branching problem, speculative execution, parallel processing, supercomputers, as well as CPU improvements and new features.
    • See your review packet and homework problems for typical problems that you might see on the final exam.
    • Open notes exam. You may bring anything on paper that you wish.
    • You may use a hand calculator if you wish. Calculators may not be shared by students.
    • Cell phones and pagers should be turned off and put away.
    • No laptops or other computers may be used.

Comic Relief

We study integer wrap-around. Here's an illustration of it.
Thanks to Note their license information.

[If androids someday DO dream of electric sheep, don't forget to declare sheepCount as a long int.]

Instructor: Br. David Carlson

Maintained by: Br. David Carlson
Last updated: May 01, 2017