Syllabus for Spring 1997 CSCI 274

The instructor for CSCI 274 is Dean Brock. CSCI 274 is officially Special Topics: Computer Organization with Applications; however, it is really CSCI 254 with a formal lab section. At this time, the UNCA Department of Computer Science is starting to revise the requirements of the Computer Systems track to meets the standards of the CSAB, Computer Science Accreditation Board. CSCI 274 is one course we are adding to meet these requirements.

In this course 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 lecture section of the course will meet on Monday and Wednesday from 4:30 PM to 5:45 PM in Robinson 223. The lab section is Monday evening from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM in Robinson 004, the Unix workstation laboratory. The textbook for the course is Computer Systems Architecture written by Morris Mano and published by Prentice Hall (ISBN 0-13-175563-3). We will cover approximately the first eight chapters of the textbook.

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: 0-201-82376-4). 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, two tests, and one final exam. All homework will have a due date listed in the course Internet documents. Late homework will be subject to a penalty based on a half-life of 10 days, e.g., you only get one-half credit for homework 10 days late and one-quarter for homework 20 days late. The half-life calculation is explain in more detailed on my page The decay of late assignments. In the calculation of final grades, the following weights will be used:

The final exam period will be Monday, 6 May, 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM.

My office hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30 PM to 4:00 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.

Copies of all handouts for CSCI 274 are available via the internet at

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