Computer Systems and Architecture 

On this page you will find information about the course "Computersystemen en -architectuur"

  • 1001WETCAR, a compulsory 9-credit course for first-year Bachelor Computer Science students and
  • 2500WETCAR, a 6-credit course in the Educational Master
for the first semester of the 2020-2021 academic year at the University of Antwerp.

This page is written in English for the benefit of foreign Erasmus students. Note that the course is taught in Dutch however!

This course consists of two interwoven parts:
Computer Systems
Computer Architecture

The course textbook is
David A. Patterson and John L. Hennessy.
Computer Organization and Design (MIPS Edition), the Hardware/Software Interface. Fifth Edition. Morgan Kaufmann. 2013.

For which parts of the book correspond to which lecture, have a look at the overview of what to study for the exam.


Exams
First Session

Your total score for this course is calculated as follows:

  • During the semester: permanent evaluation counts for 55% of the course grade. Assignments and Projects are handed in via Blackboard. Projects are evaluated during an oral defense.
  • Examination period: the Theory exam counts for 25% of the course grade.
    The course material covered by the theory exam is described in this overview of what to study for the exam.
  • Examination period: the practical exam together with its oral defense counts for 20% of the course grade.
    • Examination period: Practical exam (in computer lab: preparation of the design of a datapath as well as translating a high-level program to that architecture)
    • Examination period: Defense of practical exam with questions to test Computer Systems background
  • To pass the course, you need to attend or submit every part that will be graded (if not, your grade will be "AFW" - absent). Additionally, you need to get an overall score of at least 50%, and a score of at least 40% on the theory exam, and a score of at least 40% on the practical exam, and a score of at least 40% on the year projects (architecture and systems combined). If not, your grade will be min(7, your_score). your_score is the score you would get when applying the weights given above.
Second Session
  • The weights of the different parts of the course remain the same as during the January session:
    • 25% theory-exam
    • 20% practical-exam
    • 40% project computer architecture during the year ("permanent evaluation")
    • 15% exercises computer systems during the year ("permanent evaluation")
    Each of these parts may have to be re-done during the Second Session.
    You do not have to (but may) re-do those (entire) parts for which you got a score of at least 50% (i.e., "partiële vrijstelling"). By "entire" we mean that exemptions will in principle not be given for sub-parts of each of the four parts of the course. You should explicitly ask for an exemption via e-mail and you will be notified via e-mail whether this request was granted.
  • For the "during the year" parts, you will need to individually finish and submit (and defend) the "Computer Systems" assignments and a "Computer Architecture" project. These will be slight modifications of the original ones (see below). Deadline for these assignments is TBA (To Be Announced). Submission is done via Blackboard.
  • The structure of the examination remains the same. All defenses take place during the examination period.
  • The examination method and the material to study for the Second Session are identical to that of the First Session. There will again be a written theory exam about both CS and CA, as well as a practical exam with oral defense on Computer Architecture. The course material covered by the theory exam is described in this overview of what to study for the exam.

Theory
All lectures (in PDF format) can be found at the URL announced in class. Before each class, the slides are last year's. By the next lecture, the slides are updated to reflect this year's changes.
Links to recordings of the online lectures (Blackboard Collaborate) can be found in the Schedule on this page next to "online".

Class scribbles (get updated during the term).


Lab Sessions

In each lab session, you will be given some assignments (Computer Systems) and/or a project (Computer Architecture). All assignments are made individually, projects are solved in groups of two students.

Assignments (CS)
The assignments for Computer Systems are bundled in 3 larger projects and are made individually. These projects require you to apply and combine all topics seen in the weeks before the project deadline. Projects have to be submitted to Blackboard. Every project will clearly indicate what is expected.

The projects and exercises can be found here.

Projects (CA)

In each lab session, you will work on a project in pairs of two students. Projects build on each other, to converge into a unified whole at the end of the semester. During the semester, you will be evaluated three times. At these evaluation moments, you will present your solution of the past projects by giving a demo and answering some questions. You will immediately receive feedback, which you can use to improve your solution for the following evaluations.

For every project, you submit a small report of the project you made by filling in verslag.html completely. A report typically consists of a summary of everything you implemented and an explanation of the choices you made ​​in the implementation. Again, put all your files in a tgz archive. The name of that archive consists of your last and first name, without spaces. If, for example, your name is Jan De Smedt, the file name of your archive must be DeSmedtJan.tgz.

The projects can be found here.

Files

The HTML forms you will need for the solutions (right click, save as):

You have to adapt the HTML-code manually (i.e., in notepad) to fill in the forms. A good HTML tutorial can help you with this. Remark: in the forms, the <u> element for underlining is redefined to "overline". This way, you can express NOT in Boolean algebraic expressions: e.g., NOT A OR B becomes A+B. Unfortunately, double overline is not possible. Of course, you can always use the NOT A OR B notation.

Tools

Throughout the course we will use the following tools:

Both tools require java to run. The tools are installed on the lab computers.

If you would like to run a UNIX distribution on your own computer, we suggest Ubuntu. You can install Ubuntu next to your Windows using the Windows installer. After installation, you will be able to choose on startup between Windows and Ubuntu. If you would like to run Ubuntu inside your Windows, you can install Ubuntu on VirtualBox by following these steps.

In order to copy files in Windows from and to servers (e.g., between your laptop and the studento.uantwerpen.be server) you can use WinSCP. You can simply use the scp command ("secure copy") if you are using UNIX.

You can only access the studento.uantwerpen.be server from a university network or through a vpn connection (to access this page, open it after you are logged in to Blackboard).

Blackboard caveats

The burden of timely submission of your work on Blackboard is on you! (late submissions are not accepted)

  • Beware that Blackboard's clock may differ slightly from that on your computer. Allow a margin for submission.
  • Be sure to check that your submission was actually made. Check for example under Grade Centre whether your (as yet unmarked) submission shows up.

Planning

Week

Date

Time

Type

Room

Computer Systems

Computer Architecture

1Tuesday 22 September 2020
Wednesday 23 September 2020
10:45 - 12:45
16:00 - 18:00
Lab sessionM.G.025 (Group C+D)
M.G.025 (Group A+B)
Practical Information
Introduction to UNIX
1Friday 25 September 20208:30 - 12:45TheoryM.G.010Course Introduction + Practical InformationFrom Analog to Digital
Logic Design, Logic Gates, ALU
2Tuesday 29 September 2020
Wednesday 30 September 2020
10:45 - 12:45
16:00 - 18:00
Lab sessionM.G.025 (Group C+D)
M.G.025 (Group A+B)
Gates and Wires
2Friday 2 October 20208:30 - 12:45Theoryonline 1, 2, 3, 4Computer AbstractionALU, Adders
3Tuesday 6 October 2020
Wednesday 7 October 2020
10:45 - 12:45
16:00 - 18:00
Lab sessionM.G.025 (Group C+D)
M.G.025 (Group A+B)
Adders
3Friday 9 October 20208:30 - 10:30Theoryonline 1, 2 Computer Abstraction: Performance
13:00 - 14:45online 1, 2 Computer Abstraction: Performance
4Tuesday 13 October 2020
Wednesday 14 October 2020
10:45 - 12:45
16:00 - 18:00
Lab sessionM.G.025 (Group C+D)
M.G.025 (Group A+B)
Regular expressions
4Friday 16 October 20208:30 - 10:45Theoryonline 1, 2 3, 4 Data Representation (unsigned and signed integers)
5Tuesday 20 October 2020
Wednesday 21 October 2020
10:45 - 12:45
16:00 - 18:00
Lab sessionM.G.025 (Group C+D)
M.G.025 (Group A+B)
ALU
5Friday 23 October 202013:45 - 17:45Theoryonline 1, 2 3, 4 Data Representation (fixed point, floating point)Adding signed integers, ALU
6Tuesday 27 October 2020
Wednesday 28 October 2020
10:45 - 12:45
16:00 - 18:00
Lab sessionM.G.025 (Group C+D)
M.G.025 (Group A+B)
UNIX Scripting
6Friday 30 October 20208:30 - 10:30Theoryonline 1, 2 IEEE 754 (de-)normalized Floating Point
13:00 - 14:45online 1, 2 Memory
6Sunday 1 November 202023:55Project deadlineBlackboardProject 1 - 3: Gates and Wires, Adders, ALU
7Tuesday 3 November 202010:45 - 12:45Lab sessionOnline (All Groups)Memory
7 12:00 - 12:45Theoryonline 1 Finite State Machines
7Friday 6 November 20208:30 - 10:30Theoryonline 1, 2 Data Representation (ASCII/EBCDIC)
13:00 - 14:45online 1, 2 Data Representation (Unicode), glyphs, fonts, typefaces
7Sunday 8 November 202023:55Project deadlineBlackboardUNIX Project
8Tuesday 10 November 202010:45 - 12:45Lab sessionOnline (All Groups)Data Representation
8Friday 13 November 20208:30 - 10:30Theoryonline 1, 2 Simple Datapath
13:00 - 14:45online 1, 2 Simple Datapath (full)
9Tuesday 17 November 202010:45 - 12:45Lab sessionOnline (All Groups)Datapath
9Friday 20 November 20208:30 - 10:30Theoryonline 1, 2 AssemblerSimple Datapath (full, "absolute" Jump)
13:00 - 14:45online 1, 2 Assembler
9Sunday 22 November 202023:55Project deadlineBlackboardData Representation
10Tuesday 24 November 202010:45 - 12:45Lab sessionOnline (All Groups)MIPS: Introduction
10Friday 27 November 20208:30 - 10:30Theoryonline 1, 2 (first part missing!) translating High-Level Language constructs
13:00 - 14:45online 1, 2 Leaf Functions
10Sunday 29 November 202023:55Project deadlineBlackboardProject 4 - 5: Memory, Simple Datapath
11Tuesday 1 December 2020
Wednesday 2 December 2020
10:45 - 12:45
16:00 - 18:00
Lab sessionM.G.025 (Group A+B)
M.G.025 (Group C+D)
MIPS: Building your Projects' Building Blocks
11Friday 4 December 20208:30 - 10:30Theoryonline 1, 2 Argument passing by value/reference
Memory layout
Non-leaf functions (with and without frames)
13:00 - 14:45online 1, 2 Representing Matrices
Linking and Loading
9Sunday 6 December 202023:55Project deadlineBlackboardMIPS: Introduction
12Tuesday 8 December 2020
Wednesday 9 December 2020
10:45 - 12:45
16:00 - 18:00
Lab sessiononline
M.G.025
MIPS: Putting your Project togetherFull Datapath
12Friday 11 December 20208:30 - 10:30Theoryonline 1, 2 Linking and Loading: static, dynamic
13:00 - 14:45online 1, 2
Other Architectures
Computer Arithmetic (hardware)
13Tuesday 15 December 2020
Wednesday 16 December 2020
10:45 - 12:45
16:00 - 18:00
Lab sessionM.G.025
online
MIPS: Extending your ProjectDatapath in Use
13Friday 18 December 20208:30 - 10:30Theoryonline 1, 2 Computer Arithmetic (assembler)Computer Arithmetic (hardware)
13:00 - 14:45online 1, 2 Datapath with PipeliningExceptions
Course/Exam Overview
13Sunday 20 December 202023:55Project deadlineBlackboardProject 6 - 7: Full Datapath
Sunday 3 January 202123:55Project deadlineBlackboardMIPS Project
Monday 25 January 202108:30 - 11:30ExamM.G.010Theory examTheory exam
Tuesday 26 January 202108:00 - 18:00ExamM.G.025/M.G.116Practical exam + oral defense (group 1)
Wednesday 27 January 202108:00 - 18:00ExamM.G.025/M.G.116Practical exam + oral defense (group 2)
Thursday 28 January 202108:00 - 18:00ExamM.G.025/M.G.116Practical exam + oral defense (group 3)
Friday 29 January 202108:00 - 18:00ExamM.G.025/M.G.116Practical exam + oral defense (group 4)

Computer Systems
Program of the lab sessions

Exercises 1: Introduction to Unix

Introduction session on Unix commands. The use of Unix Shell Commands is explained.

Material:

Exercises 2: Regular Expressions

Introduction and assignments on Regular Expressions and the use of sed.

Material:

Exercises 3: UNIX Scripting

Introduction to and assignments on UNIX Scripting.

Material:

Project UNIX

Project for the UNIX part of the course.

Material:

Exercises 4: Data Representation

Assignments on data representation

Material:

Exercises 6: MIPS: Introduction

Introduction of MIPS and the use of MARS

Material:

Exercises 7: MIPS: Building your Projects' Building Blocks

Assignments on MIPS

Material:

Exercises 8: MIPS: Putting your Project together

Assignments on MIPS Stacks and subroutines

Material:

Exercises 9: MIPS: Extending your Project

Assignments on MIPS Recursion

Material:


Computer Architecture
Program of the lab sessions

Project 1: Gates and Wires

Introduction to Logisim and the use of gates.

Material:

Project 2: Adders

Build an 16-bit adder (ripple carry adder and carry lookahead adder).

Material:

Project 3: ALU

Build a 16-bit ALU.

Material:

Project 4: Memory

Build a register file, counter, stack, and a finite State Machine for a traffic light.

Material:

Project 5: Datapath

Build a program counter and a datapath.

Material:

Project 6: Full Datapath

Add branch, jump and immediate instructions to the instruction set.

Material:

Project 7: Datapath in Use

Write programs to run on your datapath.

Material:

Second Session

This is a variation on the projects of the first session. The goal is to individually solve a variation of all projects, with the differences explained in the following assignment:

Maintained by Hans Vangheluwe. Last Modified: 2021/02/22 12:05:57.