Syllabus for CSCI 255 -- Spring 2000

What we study

In CSCI 255 you learn a bit about the computer hardware. You'll study how computers are built from transistors to gates to function units such as memories and processing units. You'll also learn a little about machine language, the lowest level in which programmers may speak to computers. Although CSCI 255 is officially "Computer Organization", it is an introduction to both Logic Design and Computer Organization.

The source

The official source of all class related information is the Web documents referenced via the following URL:

Many class handouts and assignments will be distributed only through this medium.

Lectures and labs

The instructor for CSCI 255 is Dean Brock. The course lectures will be on Monday and Wednesday from 3:15 PM to 4:30 PM in Ramsey 101.

There are two lab sections for the course. Both meet in Robinson 004. Unfortunately, the lab situation is very unsettled because:

  1. Our 1999-2000 equipment budget is 15% of our 1997-1998 equipment budget.
  2. Our department has two fewer full-time faculty members this term.

We expect to have a clearer idea of the lab facilities available for the course by next week. However, compared to previous semesters, you'll need to plan on doing more "lab" work outside of the regular lab sessions. The lab sections will be taught by both Dean Brock and Mark Boyd.


The textbook for the course will be Principles of Digital Design, written by Daniel Gajski and published by Prentice-Hall (ISBN 0-13-301144-5).


Grades will be based on a combination of labs, homeworks, problem sets, and exams. The total number of points given to the various forms of graded material are:

Component Points
Problem sets 100
Homeworks 150
Labs 150
Two quizes 200
Final 200

Problem sets

There will be twelve near-weekly problem sets. The lowest grade of the first six and the lowest grade of the second six will be dropped in computing your problem set total. No late problem sets will be accepted.


There will be about five homework assignments. Unless your are told otherwise, homework assignments are expected to be the result of your own individual effort.


Lab grades are assigned by the lab instructor. You must attend the lab session to receive full credit for the lab.

For more information

My office is Robinson 220, and my office hours are Monday and Wednesday from 1:30 to 3:00. However, the best way to get in touch with me is to send email to

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