Architectures of Computer Systems

The course is not on the list Without time-table
Code Completion Credits Range Language
BI-APS.1 Z,ZK 5 2P+2C Czech
Pavel Tvrdík (guarantor), Michal Štepanovský
Pavel Tvrdík (guarantor), Michal Šoch, Michal Štepanovský
Department of Computer Systems

Students will learn the construction principles of internal architecture of computers with universal processors at the level of machine instructions. Special emphasis is given on the pipelined instruction processing and on the memory hierarchy. Students will understand the basic concepts of RISC and CISC architectures and the principles of instruction processing not only in scalar processors, but also in superscalar processors that can execute multiple instructions in one cycle, while ensuring the correctness of the sequential model of programs. The course further elaborates the principles and architectures of shared memory multiprocessor and multicore systems and the memory coherence and consistency in such systems.


Basic knowledge of combinational and sequential logical circuits. Knowledge of basic instruction cycle and assembly labguage programming. Programing in C, the role of a compiler for a higher level PL.

Syllabus of lectures:

1. Quantitative principles of computer design, Amdahl’s law, computer performance evaluation, benchmarks.

2. Instruction set architectures: taxonomy RISC processors vs. CISC processors, assembly language.

3. Verilog as a hardware description language: syntax and semantics.

4. Incremental design of a single-cycle RISC processor, principles and basic implementations of CPU control units.

5. Design of a simple pipelined RISC processor, hazards in the pipeline and their elimination.

6. Memory hierarchy: Cache memory principle, various implementations (direct-mapped, fully associative, N-way set-associative).

7. Memory hierarchy: Virtual memory (paging) and its HW support in memory management units of conventional CPUs.

8. [2] Multicore CPUs and multiprocessor systems. Cache memory coherence, the MESI protocol, directory-based coherence.

10. Memory consistency and the sequential consistency model. Synchronization instructions for accessing shared memory.

11. Superscalar CPUs I: Introduction to instruction-level parallelism. Static (in-order) and dynamic (out-of-order) instruction execution, register renaming (Tomasulo's algorithm).

12. Superscalar CPUs II: Memory-referencing instructions, load bypassing and load forwarding, speculative loads from memory. Memory consistency for multi-core CPUs.

13. Superscalar CPUs III: Branch prediction, speculative instruction prefetching and execution.

Syllabus of tutorials:

1. Evaluation of computer performance

2. ISA and the MIPS assembly language

3. Programming in assembly language for MIPS

4. Hardware description language (Verilog)

5. Basic components of simple RISC processors

6. Pipelined processor

7. Cache memory viewed by CPU/assembler

8. Cache memory viewed by a C/C++ programmer

9. MESI coherence protocol

10. Memory consistency and synchronization primitives

11. Memory consistency viewed by a C/C++ programmer

12. Superscalar processors

13. Semestral projects check, assessment

Study Objective:

Students understand architectures of uniprocessor computers at the level of machine instructions, with emphasis to instruction pipelining and memory hierarchy. They know the main concepts of RISC and CISC architectures. They learn how modern computers work and how they are constructed. They learn about the techniques that today's processors used to increase the program execution performance. They get basic knowledge allowing them to optimize their programs to fully exploit a given processor microarchitecture. They get an idea about the trends in the area of computer architectures and how they will affect software. They understand the principles of shared-memory multiprocessor system architectures and issues of memory consistency.

Study materials:

1. Patterson D. A., Hennessy J. L. : Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface (5th Edition). Morgan Kaufmann, 2014. ISBN 978-0128012857.

2. Hennessy J.L., Patterson D.A. : Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach (6th Edition). Morgan Kaufmann, 2017. ISBN 978-0128119051.

3. Shen J. P., Lipasti M. H. : Modern Processor Design. Fundamentals of Superscalar Processors. Waveland Press, 2013. ISBN 978-1478607830.


Further information:
No time-table has been prepared for this course
The course is a part of the following study plans:
Data valid to 2022-12-05
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