General information

The instructor for CSCI 254 is Dean Brock. The title is a good description of the course. Here we show how a computer is organized, or implemented in terms of electronic devices. We leave the solid state electronics to the physicists and start with logic gates and work our way through the implementation of some of the major components of a modern computer system.

The course will meet on Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 3:15 PM to 4:30 PM. The textbook for the course will be Computer Systems Architecture written by Morris Mano and published by Prentice Hall (ISBN 0-13-175563-3). Be sure to get the 3rd edition. We will cover the first eight chapters of the textbook and parts of chapter twelve.

You will use diglog, a public domain circuit design and simulation package that runs on the workstations in Robinson 004, for several assignments. I'm afraid that diglog is not a very user friendly program, so you may find it a bit frustrating to use. If you haven't used Unix workstations, you should invest in a copy of Unix for the Impatient by Paul Abrahams and Bruce A. Larson (Addison-Wesley, ISBN: 0-201-55703-7). By the way, under no circumstances may you allow anyone else to use your workstation account!

Grades will be based on a combination of graded homework, several quizzes, and one final exam. In the calculation of final grades, the following weights will be used:

The final exam will be given on Wednesday, December 14, from 3:15 PM to 5:45 PM. The midterms will be given around early September and early November.

My office hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. I do frequently read electronic mail and sending a message to my computer account,, is generally the best way to get a prompt response.

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