Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering                      University of Massachusetts Amherst

ECE 668 - Spring 2015 

Advanced Computer Architecture

** Topics from Conventional CMOS Microprocessors to Emerging Nanoscale Unconventional Architectures **

InstructorCsaba Andras-Moritz, Professor
email:, phone: 413-320-7669 (email is best way to contact)
Office: room KEB-309H
; Instructor's web site:
Admininstrative Assistant :   Christine Langlois, phone: 413-545 3621
Office hours: Tue 2:30PM-3:30PM, Th 2:20PM-3:15PM KEB, or email appointment; 2nd floor next to elevator
Class Time: Tue-Th from 1PM-2:15PM

Place:  ELAB 306

Course Abstract: This course will cover advanced topics in computer architectures focusing on emerging uniprocessor and multiprocessor architectures, implementation issues (architect's perspective) in deep submicron CMOS, as well as nanoscale fabrics and architectures based on new types of emerging devices. Outline: (1) Introduction; (2) Reminder on Pipelined Processors; (3) Parallelism and ILP; (4) Memory Hierarchy Design (caches, virtual memory); (5) Multiprocessors (shared memory, distributed memory, synchronization, etc); (6) Implementation Issues in Deep Submicron (power, process variation, etc); (7) Nanoscale Computing Fabrics and Architecture (physical layer including devices and layout, manufacturing constraints, architectures, defect tolerance, variability).    (3 credits)

Projects/Exams/Grading: This is a core graduate-level course. Active student participation is expected.  The course will have a project (to be selected), one midterm and a final exam. Projects will be listed below but other research-oriented projects can be pursued with instructor approval. Students can choose the project they prefer. Grading: 5% class participation, 30% Project 1 or Project 2, 35% midterm, 30% final exam, and 0% homeworks.  Projects should be done in groups of up to four students.

Prerequisites: If you are taking this course you must have already taken an undergraduate-level architecture course (no exceptions) and have basic understanding of computer organization, VLSI, and microprocessor architecture. The projects require good command of programming in either ASM, C, C++, C#, Java or Verilog. For Project 2, you need experience with HSPICE and VLSI. Some VLSI tool exposure may be needed depending on direction.

Materials from:

Other useful books to have:

  • Midterm: in regular classroom, 1 hour, March 26, 2015, Midterm Review
  • Final Exam: April 30, 2015, in regular classroom at 5PM, Final Review

Last updated: Apr 14, 2015

Copyright Csaba Andras Moritz 2008-2015