CS 1541


Course DescriptionExamination of computer architecture and hardware system organization. Topics include: CPU organization, sequential and microprogrammed control, instruction set implementation, memory organizations, input/output structure, peripherals and computer communications.
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Term Fall 2018Professor Rami Melhen Difficulty 3/5Quality 4/5

This class is not an easy class, but it's not the hardest in the world either. I would recommend having a confidence in your foundational learning in CS before you take this. 447 is required, but I would wait until after 449. If you enjoy studying how a CPU/GPU actually works under the hood, then this is the class for you. You will learn about superscalars, cacheing, pipelining, addressing, and much more. Many of the "we'll explain this in a later course"/"this is actually a lie we tell intro students" topics of 447 are covered here. At a professor-specific level I will offer this: Dr. Melhem is an above average lecturer but he's teaching material that is dry in nature. If you're the kid that reddits during lecture you won't do well. If you're the kid who thinks you can skip more than 4-5 lectures and snag an A, you're wrong. This class demands consistent effort, but conceptually isn't much harder than 447. Additionally, I've heard Dr. Melhem is not the most personable during office hours, but that's just anecdotal. My advice for the course is this: Know the formulas, know the concepts, do the homework and check it twice, then study the homework for exams. The homework and exams are extremely similar and exams are weighted the most heavily in this class. Projects are worth more than homework in the overall grade weight, but homework success is the most indicative of exam success.

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