E&CE 720-t4: Information


People and Places

Instructor Mark Aagaard, maagaard@uwaterloo.ca, DC-2536
Lectures Wed 12:30pm-3:30pm, EIT 3151
Syllabus The weekly schedule has links to the assignments.

Calendar Description

Recent innovations in computer architecture and design, ranging from ultra-low power embedded systems to high-performance microprocessors. The interplay and relationship between VLSI design, computer architecture, compilers, and operating systems. The course will draw on textbook material for foundational concepts, academic research publications for the latest advances, and commercial processors for current industrial practice.


This course bridges the gap between an undergraduate level treatment of computer architecture and current research and developments in microprocessor design. The course emphasizes the dependencies that extend from the creation of a VLSI fabrication process through computer architecture up to compilers and the operating system. The course will also develop an appreciation for the role that different application domains play in influencing microprocessor design and how innovations migrate from academia, to cutting edge processors, to commodity embedded systems.


Reference Material


Class participation 10%
Homework assignments 20%
Project 20%
Final 50%

Late policy for assignments and project: 10% reduction per day

Audits A score of 75% or more on the assignments and project and 85% or more on class participation will result in a successful audit.


The assignments will primarily cover material from the textbook. In addition, there will be an introductory assignment to asses the level of background knowledge of the class.


The project will be to write a report about several papers of your choice in the field of computer-architecture research and practice.

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