Computer Architecture

COMP SCI 2GA3 / SFWR ENG 2GA3 / SFWR ENG 3GA3 — Fall 2014

Calendar Description:

Measures of performance, instruction set architecture, computer arithmetic, datapath and control, pipelining, the memory hierarchy, I/O systems, multiprocessor systems, multimedia extensions and graphic processors.

Instructor:   Dr. Wolfram Kahl

ITB-245, kahl at mcmaster dot ca

Office hour: Monday 13:00-14:00 (changed), or by appointment (or catch me after class).


The course outline is available as PDF pdf.


Teaching Assistants


Patterson and Hennessy: Computer Organisation and Design — The Hardware/Software Interface, 4th revised edition, Morgan Kaufmann, 2012.

This has still been seen in the Campus Store on Sept. 25, only under “SFWR ENG”.

Midterm Test

October 23rd, 10:30-11:20


Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9:30-10:20   Tut. Groups 2 & 5
ABB-166 & ETB-237
10:30-11:20 Lecture: HSC-1A1   Lecture: HSC-1A1 Lecture: HSC-1A1  
12:30-13:20 Office Hour
14:30-15:20 Tut. Groups 1 & 4
ETB-227 & 228
15:30-16:20   Tut. Groups 3 & 6
BSB-B154 & B155

The tutorial sessions begin on September 8.


Academic Ethics

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: “Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty”), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various kinds of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, specifically Appendix 3, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one's own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Use of Avenue

In this course we will be using Avenue. Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McM aster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.


Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.


“The Faculty of Engineering is concerned with ensuring an environment that is free of all adverse discrimination. If there is a problem that cannot be resolved by discussion among the persons concerned, individuals are reminded that they should contact the Department Chair, the Sexual Harassment Office or the Human Rights Consultant, as soon as possible.”

Emergency Changes

The instructor and university reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term. The university may change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances. If either type of modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. It is the responsibility of the student to check their McMaster email and course websites weekly during the term and to note any changes.