Nova Southeastern University
Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Course Syllabus

CISC 647 Advanced Computer Architecture 3 Credits

Summer 2010
May 3, 2010- August 15, 2010

Dr. Jerry A. Smith
Adjunct Professor
Nova Southeastern University
Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences
3301 College Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314 
(Skype) dr.jerry.a.smith

Class Location and Format:
Online, Asynchronous

Class Hours:
Not Applicable

Class Web Site:
The class web site can be found here.


Course Description:
Organizational structures of computer systems and subsystems. Topics include processor organization, memory organization, virtual memory, microarchitecture, I/O controllers and processors, architectures for complex instruction set computers (CISC) and reduced instruction set computers (RISC), performance evaluation, multiprocessors, and parallel architectures.

Required Text Books:

The required course books can be found here.

Recommended Text Books:
The required course books can be found here.

Required Software:

Any course related software that will be used in the completion of assignments and examinations can be found here (user name/password required).


Exit Competencies:

Upon completion of this course, the student should have the background needed to design and analyze high-performance computer architectures.


Course Outline (Subject to change, Modified 6/28/2010):


Topic Text Chapter



- Course Introduction
- Fundamentals of Computer Architecture




- Fundamentals of Computer Architecture




- Multiprocessor and Thread-Level Parallelism 4



- Multiprocessor and Thread-Level Parallelism ...



- Memory Hierarchy Design 5



- Memory Hierarchy Design ...



- Storage Systems 6



- Storage Systems ...



- Interconnection Networks

Appendix E



- Interconnection Networks




- Interconnection Networks




- Embedded Systems

Appendix D



- Embedded Systems




- Large Scale Multiprocessors and Scientific Applications

Appendix H



- Final Exam


Instruction Methods and Tools:

This online asynchronous course will enable you to participate during times that are convenient to you. The course will use four primary communication tools: course web page, course forum, email, chat room, and WebCT.


The course web page is the authoritative source for information regarding the course. The web page has links to administrative information, assignments, lecture notes, schedules, bulletin board, and other important information that you will find helpful throughout the course.


The SCIS course forum will be the primary means of asynchronous communication used throughout the course. The forum will be used to discuss subject material, problems, lecture notes, and other relevant class matters. Participation in the forum by all students is expected. The course forum will be established during the first week of class and can be found through the SCIS web page. If you have any questions regarding the forum or are new to the process, please refer to the online forum tutorial.


Email will be used to communicate privately and send broadcast messages to the class. If you have something you want to discuss with me and do not want to post it to the course forum, this will be the preferred medium. However, do not submit assignments or examinations through email (see Assignments, Examination and Quizzes). Please make sure to include "CISC 647 : " in your subject line (e.g. CISC 647: Help!).


WebCT will be used to submit all class coursework. Upon submission, both you and I will receive electronic notification of the event. I will also use WebCT as the primary medium for commenting and grading the coursework. Please refer to the online WebCT tutorials if you are new to the process or have any questions.

Bulletin Board:

Most, if not all, course announcements will be made electronically. In particular, assignments, examinations, changes to due dates, and other such information will be posted regularly. These announcements will be posted in the bulletin board section of the course homepage web page and, if particularly urgent, will also be sent by email to all students registered for this course. It is your responsibility to check these announcements frequently in order to ensure you have the most current course information.


The course calendar (posted through the Calendar section of the WebCT page) will contain the due dates for reading assignments, written assignments, and other matters of interest.

There will be periodic written assignments in this course. All assignment will be posted to the course assignments web page and announced on the bulletin board. Assignment answers must be returned via the Assignments section of WebCT to the instructor on or before the due date and time indicated on the assignment. No other form of submission will be excepted.

Late assignment submission will suffer point deductions unless prior arrangements have been made. Therefore, if you need extra time for an assignment, please contact me in writing in advance of the due date. All effort on the assignment must be the student's own work.

Examinations and Quizzes:
There will be a single comprehensive final examination in this course. Any examination will be posted to the course assignments web page and announced on the bulletin board. Examination answers must be returned via the Assignment section of WebCT to the instructor on or before the due date and time indicated on the examination. No other form of examination submission will be excepted.

Late examination submissions will suffer point deductions unless prior arrangements have been made. Therefore, if you need extra time for an examination, please contact me in writing in advance of the due date. All effort  on the examination must be the student's own work.

Grading Criteria:
The final grade in the course will be based on assignments, a midterm examination, and final examination. All work will be graded on a ratio scale that ranges from 0% to 100%. Grading is based on the content, completeness, and timeless of the work. Late work can be penalized up to 100%. The course grade is computed as follows:

  1. Forum Participation: 15%

  2. Assignments: 25% (All assignments are equally weighted)
  3. Research Project: 25%

  4. Comprehensive Final Exam: 35%

Grading Scale:

The final letter grade for the course be assigned based on the following translation:

Assigned Letter Grade


A- B+ B





Accumulative Points

100 - 93

92-90 points 89-88 points 87-83 points



77-73 points

69 - 0


Note that this grading scale does not contain a grade of "D". This reflects compliance with the SCIS grading scale that appears in the SCIS graduate catalog.


Class/Course Rules & Participation:

Regular and frequent class participation is an important component of this course, without it you and your classmates will not benefit academically. Participating is defined as submitting coursework on time, contributing to the course forum, and communicating via email. Students who fail to participate on a regular and frequent basis will not receive a passing grade.


For those students who are interested in knowing more about me, my bibliography can be found here.

SCIS Policies:
Students must comply with the policies published in the school’s Graduate Catalog and the NSU Student Handbook, some of which are included or referenced below. The catalog is located here. The handbook is located here.

1. Standards of Academic Integrity
For the university-wide policy on academic standards, see the section Code of Student Conduct and Academic Responsibility in the NSU Student Handbook. Also see the section Student Misconduct in the GSCIS catalog.

Each student is responsible for maintaining academic integrity and intellectual honesty in his or her academic work. It is the policy of the school that each student must:

  • Submit his or her own work, not that of another person
  • Not falsify data or records (including admission materials)
  • Not engage in cheating (e.g., giving or receiving help during examinations; acquiring and/or transmitting test questions prior to an examination; and using unauthorized materials, such as notes, during an examination)
  • Not receive or give aid on assigned work that requires independent effort
  • Properly credit the words or ideas of others according to accepted standards for professional publications (see Crediting the Words or Ideas of Others)
  • Not use term paper writing services or consult such services for the purpose of obtaining assistance in the preparation of materials to be submitted in courses or for theses or dissertations
  • Not commit plagiarism (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (1996) defines plagiarism as “stealing or passing off ideas or words of another as one’s own” and “the use of a created production without crediting the source.”)(see Crediting the Words or Ideas of Others below)


Crediting the Words or Ideas of Others
When using the exact words of another, quotation marks must be used for short quotations (fewer than 40 words), and block quotation style must be used for longer quotations. In either case, a proper citation must also be provided. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Fifth Edition, (2001, pp. 117 and 292) contains standards and examples on quotation methods.

Assignments, exams, projects, papers, theses, dissertations, etc., must be the original work of the student. Original work may include the thoughts and words of another author but such thoughts or words must be identified utilizing quotation marks or indentation and must properly identify the source. At all times, students are expected to comply with the school’s accepted citation practice and policy.

Work is not original when it has been submitted previously by the author or by anyone else for academic credit. Work is not original when it has been copied or partially copied from any other source, including another student, unless such copying is acknowledged by the person submitting the work for the credit at the time the work is being submitted, or unless copying, sharing, or joint authorship is an express part of the assignment. Exams and tests are original work when no unauthorized aid is given, received, or used before or during the course of the examination, reexamination, and/or remediation.

NSU complies with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The university’s detailed policy on disabilities is contained in the NSU Student Handbook. Student requests for accommodation based on ADA will be considered on an individual basis. Each student with a disability should discuss his or her needs with the GSCIS disability service representative, Candy Fish (call 954-262-2034, or email before the commencement of classes if possible.

4. Communication by Email
Students must use their NSU email accounts when sending email to faculty and staff and must clearly identify their names and other appropriate information, e.g., course or program. When communicating with students via email, faculty and staff members will send mail only to NSU email accounts using NSU-recognized usernames. Students who forward their NSU-generated email to other email accounts do so at their own risk. GSCIS uses various course management tools that use private internal email systems. Students enrolled in courses using these tools should check both the private internal email system and NSU’s regular email system. NSU offers students web-based email access. Students are encouraged to check their NSU email account daily.

5. The Temporary Grade of Incomplete (I)
The temporary grade of Incomplete (I) will be granted only in cases of extreme hardship. Students do not have a right to an incomplete, which may be granted only when there is evidence of just cause. A student desiring an incomplete must submit a written appeal to the course professor at least two weeks prior to the end of the term. In the appeal, the student must: (1) provide a rationale; (2) demonstrate that he/she has been making a sincere effort to complete the assignments during the term; and (3) explain how all the possibilities to complete the assignments on time have been exhausted. Should the course professor agree, an incomplete contract will be prepared by the student and signed by both student and professor. The incomplete contract must contain a description of the work to be completed and a timetable. The completion period should be the shortest possible. In no case may the completion date extend beyond 30 days from the last day of the term for master’s courses or beyond 60 days from the last day of the term for doctoral courses. The incomplete contract will accompany the submission of the professor’s final grade roster to the program office. The program office will monitor each incomplete contract. If a change-of-grade form is not submitted by the scheduled completion date, the grade will be changed automatically from I to F. No student may graduate with an I on his or her record.

6. Grade Policy Regarding Withdrawals
Course withdrawal requests must be submitted to the program office in writing by the student. Requests for withdrawal must be received by the program office by the calendar midpoint of the course (see dates in the academic calendar in the catalog and program brochures or at: Withdrawals sent by email must be sent from the student’s assigned NSU email account. Requests for withdrawal received after 11:59 p.m. EST on the withdrawal deadline date will not be accepted. Failure to attend class or participate in course activities will not automatically drop or withdraw a student from the class or the university. Students who have not withdrawn by the withdrawal deadline will receive letter grades that reflect their performance in the course. When a withdrawal request is approved, the transcript will show a grade of W (Withdrawn) for the course. Students with four withdrawals will be dismissed from the program. Depending on the date of withdrawal, the student may be eligible for a partial refund (see the appropriate catalog section Refund Policy Regarding Withdrawals).

7. Acceptable Use of Computing Resources
Students must comply with the university’s Policy on Acceptable Use of Computing Resources (see NSU Student Handbook).

8. Academic Progress, Grade Requirements, and Academic Standing
Students must be familiar with the school’s policy which is contained in its catalog.

9. Student Research Involving Human Subjects
Students must be familiar with the university’s policy (see paragraph in catalog).

Jerry A. Smith, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor
Nova Southeastern University
Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences
3301 College Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314 BLOG PHOTOBLOG
Skype: dr.jerry.a.smith
Twitter: drjerryasmith