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December 11, 2006

I have posted the answers to last week's in-class assignment. You can find it at the URL:


Note that I have only posted the answers for questions 1 through 4. The purpose of question 5 was to generate discussion, and since I will not be asking questions quite like that on the final, I thought it best not to confuse the issue.

See you Tuesday!

December 7, 2006

The RISC homework answers are posted here.

December 5, 2006

I've posted the test 3 study guide. You can also get to it through the CSCI 4717 "Test Aids" page. I have not posted any of the answer keys yet. I hope to get them done some time by the end of the week.

November 30, 2006

There is an error in the RISC homework. In problem 4, the one with the short snippet of C code, under case 0, I have a for-loop that uses the index i. In the definition of the for loop, I increment a variable 'j'. This should be changed to 'i'. In other words, change:

for (int i=0; i<5; j++) calc = (calc << 1) + i;


for (int i=0; i<5; i++) calc = (calc << 1) + i;

I've updated the copy on the web if you're not sure what I've described to you.

November 28, 2006

There's one more take home assignment for this semester. I have posted a short homework (4 questions) on RISC architectures to the web site. It will be due Tuesday, December 5th. If you're worried about doing homework into the last week of class, you can always turn it in on the 30th of November. You can get to the PDF copy of the homework though the exercises page or by following the link below.


November 27, 2006

I've posted answers to the pipelining homework at http://faculty.etsu.edu/tarnoff/labs4717/Pipeline_HW_f06_w_ans.pdf.

November 16, 2006

There is a pipelining homework assignment posted on the course website. It will be due Tuesday, November 21st. I thought it'd be nice to not have to worry about it over the Thanksgiving holiday. You can get to the PDF copy of the homework though the exercises page or by following the link below.


October 30, 2006

We're going to be using the high performance counter again, so if you could look over the following article in the next day or so, I'd appreciate it. It simply covers the use of the counter by showing how it is used in a number of different languages.


October 23, 2006

Three items to note. First, the study guide for test 2 is available on the web site. The URL is http://faculty.etsu.edu/tarnoff/tsts4717/t2_guide.htm. Second, I have created a discussion forum on Blackboard to allow you to discuss Test 2. Feel free to post and/or answer questions regarding the test. I will not be able to monitor it over the weekend, but I thought it would be nice for you to have a way to discuss the test until I get back in town on Monday. Lastly, and probably of more concern to you as students, the deadline for participating in the PCI discussion board has been extended to October 29th. Please be sure to visit the forum soon so you can participate.

October 19, 2006

Due to a number of factors, we're a bit behind on our schedule. I've gone through the topics and done some dropping and rearranging. The schedule for the rest of the semester should look like the following.

Date Topic Reading Homework
19-Oct I/O buses 3.4, 3.5, & 7.7  
24-Oct PCI/Mem. Mgmt./Exam 2 review 3.5, 8.3, & 8.4 PCI Discussion Forum
26-Oct Alumni return to classroom    
31-Oct *** Exam 2 ***
2-Nov Measuring Performance 2.2 & assigned Time Reporting Application
7-Nov Evaluating how applications "see" time Assigned  
9-Nov Effects of Instruction set/CPU Registers 10.3, 10.4, 12.1, & 12.2 Pipeline Handout
14-Nov CPU Pipelines 12.3 & 12.4  
16-Nov RISC Processors 13.1 - 13.5 RISC Handout
21-Nov Instruction level parallelism 14.1 & 14.2  
23-Nov Thanksgiving - no class
28-Nov Instruction level parallelism (continued) 14.3 & 14.4 Superscalar Handout
30-Nov Symmetric Multiprocessors & Clusters 18.1 - 18.4  
5-Dec NUMA & Vector Computing 18.5 & 18.6  
7-Dec Exam 3 review    
12-Dec *** Final Exam 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM ***

October 6, 2006

I have generated the minimum test sequences you are to use for your direct cache project. They can be found at:


October 6, 2006

The projects are graded! Okay, they were graded yesterday, but I didn't have the outputs with me in class. You can find your grades on Blackboard. I have also posted the answers to the project questions along with a printout of my test suite code. Take a look at them and compare with your code if you have any questions.

October 4, 2006

If you printed out the test 1 study guide before you received this e-mail, there's been a minor modification. Under the topic "Advanced DRAM Organization," I also want you to understand the primary characteristics of Fast page mode (FPM) and Extended data out (EDO). Sorry, but I thought that seemed a little unclear in the study guide.

October 3, 2006

The new study guide for test 1 is posted. We will start class today by covering it and addressing any questions you have about the test. The URL for the study guide is at:


You can also find links to my old tests at:


September 20, 2006

First of all, I have posted the sample code we wrote in class yesterday. You can now find both the Sample code with Prefetch of Operands and the Sample code without Prefetch of Operands on this web site. Second, in an effort to make the maintenance of this web site more convenient, I have moved the Project 1 FAQ. Its URL is now:


September 15, 2006

There are two important announcements I have regarding Project 1. First, I've decided to extend the due date. The new due date is 11:59PM on Thursday, September 21. I've done this because we did not have any time to talk about the project in class yesterday. Also, I will be out of town this weekend and unable to answer any of the last minute panic e-mails a project such as this is bound to generate. Feel free to use the e-mail feature on Blackboard to get support from your classmates.

Second, I've posted a short FAQ based on some questions I received from students. It isn't much, but before you e-mail me or the rest of the class using Blackboard, check the FAQ to see if I've answered the question there. The URL for the FAQ is:


August 29, 2006

Welcome to class! We're going to be spending this semester identifying the ways in which the design of computers can be modified in order to improve performance. It will require some recollection of what you learned in your Computer Organization, Assembly Language, and Data Structures courses. I hope you haven't performed a memory dump!

We will be using Blackboard for some simple things such as e-mail communication and grade distribution. Please make sure your account settings are current.

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