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Course Outline

MTE 241 Introduction to Computer Structures and Real-time Systems

Fall 2014

See the Undergraduate Schedule of Classes for lecture, tutorial and laboratory times and locations.

See the mechatronics undergraduate schedule for mid-term and make-up lecture times and locations.


Douglas Wilhelm Harder
EIT 4018

Office Hours: Wednesday at 12:30 to 1:20.

Laboratory instructor

Vajih Montaghami, vajih.montaghami@uw...

Laboratory assistants

Nan Hu, n4hu
Abdel Maguid Tawakol, amtawako

The office hours for Abdel are Mondays (odd weeks) from 5:30 to 8:30 in the afternoon and evening, and the office hours for Nan are Wednesdays (odd weeks) from 4:30 to 7:30. These office hours will be held in the laboratory room, and the TAs have the option of leaving after one hour if no one is using their services.

See the ECE teaching assistant page.

Course Description

Introduction to computer organization, basic real-time concepts, process management, interprocess communication and synchronization, memory management, resource management, interrupt handling, concurrent programming, file systems.

Required Texts

None. Course notes are available.

Evaluation Structure

If tex:$$M$$ is your mid-term examination grade out of 100 % and tex:$$F$$ is your final examination grade out of 100 %, if tex:$$\frac{18}{68} M + \frac{50}{68} F \ge 50 %$$, your grade will calculated as follows:

  • A mid-term examination: 18 % (3:30-5:20 p.m. MC 1085, MC 2035, MC 2038)
  • Four projects: 32 % (8 % each)
  • A final examination: 50 %

If tex:$$\frac{18}{68} M + \frac{50}{68} F \le 30 %$$, that is your final grade.

Otherwise, the weight of the projects will drop linearly from 32 % to 0 % as the calculated grade of your midterm and final drops from 50 % to 30 %, as is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The weight of each component based on your performance on the mid-term examination and the final examination, as described above.

A student who misses the mid-term examination (due to either a severe illness, a death in his or her immediate family, or other extreme conditions) and provides appropriate documentation (e.g., a Verification of Illness Form for an illness, a death certificate, etc.) will have the weight of the mid-term moved onto the final examination.

The weight of the mid-term examination will not be changed under any other circumstances.

The instructor reserves the right convert one or more questions on either the mid-term or final examinations to bonus questions after the examinations are graded.

A student who misses the final examination (due to either a severe illness, a death in his or her immediate family, or other extreme conditions) and provides appropriate documentation (e.g., a Verification of Illness Form for an illness, a death certificate, etc.) will write the final examination with the next offering of the course.

Acceptable Rules for Group Work

With groups of two, each group should work individually. If a group requires help from another individual in the class, that individual is allowed to mentor the group that requires help. In this case,

  • Both the mentor and the group receiving help must acknowledge this,
  • The group receiving help will receive a maximum grade of 85 % on the laboratory, and
  • The mentor will receive some form of bonus.

The mentor is not allowed to enter, copy, paste, e-mail or any other way inform the group as to what they should enter as code. Instead, the mentor can offer advice and suggest what might be a problem.

Late and Missed Submissions

A late submission for a group will result in -10 % per hour.

MOSS (Measure Of Software Similarity): Plagiarism Detection

Plagiarism detection software (MOSS) will be used to screen projects in this course. This is being done to verify that use of all original source code is written by the student and not copied from the projects from other students (both from the current and previous terms). Students will be given an option if they do not want to have their projects screened by MOSS. A student may inform the instructor that he or she wishes to opt out of MOSS during the first week of the term. In this case, the instructor and the laboratory instructor will be comparing the code visually to submissions from both previous and current students.

MOSS is based on the paper Winnowing: Local Algorithms for Document Fingerprinting by Saul Schleimer, Daniel Wilkerson, and Alex Aiken.

Academic Integrity

In order to maintain a culture of academic integrity, members of the University of Waterloo community are expected to promote honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. [Check for more information.]


A student who believes that a decision affecting some aspect of his/her university life has been unfair or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance. Read Policy 70, Student Petitions and Grievances, Section 4, When in doubt please be certain to contact the department's administrative assistant who will provide further assistance.


A student is expected to know what constitutes academic integrity to avoid committing academic offenses and to take responsibility for his/her actions. A student who is unsure whether an action constitutes an offense, or who needs help in learning how to avoid offenses (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about "rules" for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course professor, academic advisor, or the undergraduate associate dean. For information on categories of offenses and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71, Student Discipline, For typical penalties check Guidelines for the Assessment of Penalties,

Plagiarism-detection software will be used on any submitted projects.


A decision made or penalty imposed under Policy 70, Student Petitions and Grievances (other than a petition) or Policy 71, Student Discipline may be appealed if there is a ground. A student who believes he/she has a ground for an appeal should refer to Policy 72, Student Appeals,

Note for students with disabilities

The Office for Persons with Disabilities (OPD), located in Needles Hall, Room 1132, collaborates with all academic departments to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum. If you require academic accommodations to lessen the impact of your disability, please register with the OPD at the beginning of each academic term.

Plagiarism detection software will be used to screen assignments in this course. This is being done to verify that use of all material and sources in assignments is documented. In the first lecture of the term, details will be provided about the arrangements for the use of plagiarism detection software in this course.