Who, when, where and what
The instructor for CSCI 320 is J Dean Brock. CSCI 320 meets Tuesday and Thursday from 5:10 PM to 6:50 PM. All class meetings will start in RRO 217. Sometimes the class will split up into groups that use RRO 217 and RRO 223 for tutorials and exercises.
All class handouts, including homework assignments, can be accessed through the following URL:
Fairly specific, though sometimes tentative, information about the topics covered in the course can be found on the class’ topics and schedule pages.
Catalog Course Description
CSCI 320 — Computer Architecture
Architectural features of modern computer architectures, including instruction set design, pipelining, memory management and bus structures. Quantitative analysis of computer design choices. Prerequisites: CSCI 202, 255.
Degree requirements fulfilled
CSCI 320 is a required course in the Computer Systems concentration of the Computer Science major and can fulfill elective requirements in the minor and the Information Systems concentration.
And, of course, all students can use CSCI 320 to fulfill 3 credit hours of the required 120 for graduation.
- Understand the internal workings of the computer at both a hardware and software level
- Understand the role and structure of the CPU, memory, I/O system, bus and interrupt system
- Understand the use of hardware description languages for architecture design
- Understand how computer architecture impacts the efficiency of software applications
- Understand how microcontrollers and embedded systems can be used to control consummer devices
You should also learn how to accomplish the following specific tasks in this course.
- Design combinational and sequential logic circuits from functional descriptions of digital systems.
- Write C programs for a microcontroller.
- Interface a microcontroller to input devices, such as switches and sensors, and output devices, such as LEDs and motors.
- Install a simple computer on a breadboard.
- Write SystemVerilog programs with appropriate testbench modules.
- Explain why Intel purchased Altera for $1.67e10.
Textbook and readings
The required textbook for the course is Digital Design and Computer Architecture, written by David Harris and Sarah Harris. This is the same textbook used in the Fall 2015 offering of CSCI 255. We will cover the sections skipped in CSCI 255. Digital Design and Computer Architecture is published by Morgan Kauffman (ISBN 978-0-12-370497-9) and has a useful collection of companion materials.
You can access a copy of the book on-line for free from Ramsey Library. Don’t worry about not having a copy for the exam: All exams are closed book.
Recently, Harris and Harris released an ARM Edition of this textbook. This book contains an ”online“ Chapter 9, I/O Systems, that describes how an ARM-based system, such as the Raspberry Pi, can be used in embedded systems. We will use this chapter when studying embedded systems.
You will need access to more information about SystemVerilog than is available in the textbook. Here are some possibilities.
- on-line tutorials
- Digital System Design with SystemVerilog by Mark Zwolinski
- SystemVerilog for Verification: A Guide to Learning the Testbench Language Features by Chris Spear and Greg Tumbush
- Verilog and SystemVerilog Gotchas: 101 Common Coding Errors and How to Avoid Them by Stuart Sotherland and Don Mills
- IEEE 1800-2012 standard (1315 pages)
The logic circuit simulation tool Logisim will be used for some assignments in the course.
We will also use Altera’s Quartus Prime Lite Edition for SystemVerilog programming and simulation. Quartus is available for Linux and Windows but the download is 5.6 GB. You may want to download it onto a USB stick on campus and then carry it to your home computer. The complete install of the lite edition in RRO 223 requires 15 GB.
The following weights are used in computing the course grade.
|Homeworks, projects, presentations …||3/5|
The following numerical scale will be used in assigning grades based on Score, the score computed using the weights described above.
|Score ≥ 93||A|
|Score ≥ 90 & Score < 93||A-|
|Score ≥ 87 & Score < 90||B+|
|Score ≥ 83 & Score < 87||B|
|Score ≥ 80 & Score < 83||B-|
|Score ≥ 77 & Score < 80||C+|
|Score ≥ 73 & Score < 77||C|
|Score ≥ 70 & Score < 73||C-|
|Score ≥ 67 & Score < 70||D+|
|Score ≥ 60 & Score < 67||D|
|Score < 60||F|
In computing the final grade, the two in-class exams will be weighted at ¼ each and the final exam will be weighted at ½.
All exams will be closed book and closed notes. No electronic devices, including calculators, may be used during the exam.
A reference sheet will be provided which lists detailed information, such as the syntax of the C language or or examples of SystemVerilog programs which would be burdensome (and unproductive) to memorize.
UNC Asheville’s Academic Policies and Procedures do provide excused absences for “travel on university-sanctioned business” and “up to two excused absences per semester for religious observances” when seven days notice is given. The seven day notice will allow the instructor to reschedule exams to avoid excused absenses. For this reason, attendance at all exams is mandatory.
Providing the instructor with a list of planned university-sanctioned absences at the beginning of the course does not constitute adequate notice.
Homework and assignments
Students will complete near-weekly assignments to be turned in at class or submitted via the UNC Asheville moodle system.
Homework ranges from simple “finger” exercises (which may even be in-class) to programming or circuit design assignments.
All homework has a specific due time. Late homework submissions must be downloaded to moodle. A penalty of 1% per hour, rounded up to the next hour, will be applied to late homework.
The classroom is a place where students and faculty behave professionally. We are polite and attentive. We avoid talk of politics and religion. We do not use offensive language. We show up on time.
Electronics in the classroom
You are welcome to use your electronic devices to take notes. However, you should read the article Why students using laptops learn less in class even when they really are taking notes from the Washington Post before you give up on handwritten notes.
Electronic devices should not be used for gaming and social media during class. This distracts others in the class.
Sometimes you may need to discretely respond to a TXT message received during class. In these cases, it usually is best to leave the room. Do not use TXT messages to communicate to others in class. That is very impolite.
Some class activities, such as exams, generate grades. You will receive a grade of 0 for those activities you miss. If you have an authorized excuse, you will be given an opportunity for a make-up.
Some class periods may be dedicated to student presentations. You are expected to attend all presentations by your fellow students. If you do not, your grade for own presentation will be adjusted.
It is never proper to claim another’s work as your own in graded work.
Unless explicitly stated in the description of an assignment, a submitted assignment must be the result of your individual effort. Your are required to cite any sources, including the work of other students, used in completing their assignments.
This is similar to the expectations of the professional workplace. If a co-worker helps you with a task, you must acknowledge their contribution. It’s only fair. If you incorporate any code from the Internet, you must cite the source. Your company does not want to be sued.
There are several impermissible actions that will result in the imposition of course or university sanctions. Impermissible actions in homework assignments include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Copying any portion of another student’s work by any method.
- Allowing another student to copy your work by any method.
- Incorporating program code, images, circuit diagrams, etc. into your homework solution that you did not create without citing the source.
Impermissible actions on exams include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Use of any unauthorized devices or sources of information.
- Giving and receiving information to another student by any method.
Sometimes these rules may be modified for specific assignments and exams. For example, group projects may be allowed for an assignment, or simple scientific calculators may be allowed during an exam.
Course sanctions for impermissible actions
The first offense will result in a grade of 0 for the related assignment or exam. The second offense will result in a grade of F for the course. These are the expected sanctions for courses at UNC Asheville.
University policy on academic misconduct
The UNC Asheville Student Handbook has a section devoted to Academic Misconduct which states the following:
A student accused of academic dishonesty should talk with his or her instructor. In all situations where a student has been disciplined for plagiarism or cheating, the instructor is to submit to the VCAA a brief statement of the case; the student is to receive a copy of this document. Depending upon the severity and/or repetition of the offense, the VCAA may choose to impose a penalty of cancellation of graduation with honors; cancellation of scholarships; dismissal from the university; or any other penalty which he or she deems logical and deserved. A student has 10 class days to respond to this document, in writing; this response is to be sent to the VCAA for attachment to the document submitted by the instructor.
In practice, students who have been involved in academic misconduct in three courses will be suspended for a semester. However a single significant offense, such as the submission of a plagiarized paper in entirety, can result in immediate dismissal.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Statement from the Office of Academic Accessibility
University of North Carolina at Asheville is committed to making courses, programs and activities accessible to persons with documented disabilities. Students requiring reasonable accommodations must register with the Office of Academic Accessibility by providing supporting documentation. All information provided will remain confidential. For more information please contact the Office of Academic Accessibility at (828)232-5050 or email@example.com or visit them in the OneStop Student Services Center.
Specific clarifications for CSCI 107
Students who have been approved for extended time for exams by the Office of Academic Accessibility must have their exams administered by the Office of Academic Accessibility and must take their exams at a time overlapping the schedule in-class exam.
For more information and help
I have office hours from 3:00 to 4:30 PM on Tuesday and Thursday. My office is RRO 221A. The best way to get in touch with me quickly is to send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I get lots of email, so always include CSCI 320 in the subject line.
Regulations related to email to and from faculty
Information protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) should only be sent from your official university email address. Information related to recorded grades is clearly protected, as is any discussion that would allow a reader to draw conclusions about your performance or attendance in class.
Email sent to me, even if it does not involve the use of state-maintained computers, may be subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law and, as such, may be disclosed to third parties.