CS 101 Computer Organization

Alison Pechenick
Fall 2005
This course is an introduction to computer system organization, including performance, assembly language, machine-level data representation, arithmetic for computers, processor datapath, control, memory and input/output.  While it is required for all CS majors,this course will be of interest to anyone who wishes to understand "the hardware-software interface" inside the computer.

Course Logistics  Last updated December 4, 2005
Class Meeting Time
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 
1:25 - 2:15 p.m.
  403 Lafayette
Contact Information
Office:  319 Votey
Phone:  656-2547    Fax:  656-0696

Office Hours

MWF,  10:15 - 11:30 a.m. 
or by
 Appointment, WebCT BB, WebCT Chat

Teaching Assistant

M: 3:30-6
T: 1-3
W: 11-12 and 3:30-4:30
F: 3:30-4:30
369 Votey


Computer Organization and Design, The Hardware/Software Interface
(THIRD EDITION)  by Patterson and Hennessy, Elsevier 2005.
Important:  Be sure to reference CD bundled with text.

The Chip by T.R. Reid, Random House 2001
Introduction to RISC Assembly Programming by John Waldron,  Addison-Wesley 1999.

Academic Honesty
Each student is responsible for adhering to 
UVM's policy on Academic Honesty
  rigorously supported by the CS Department


Three equally-weighted, closed book hourly exams, worth 40% total
Midterm exam dates: 
9/30 (Fri),   10/28 (Fri),   12/7 (Wed)

Final project, worth 20%
Final project presentations: 
Monday, December 12, 4:00-7:00 p.m.

Other activities, worth 40% total
These activities will include

  • Programming in the MIPS assembly language
  • Book problems
  • Contributions to classroom and online discussions
Quizzes Discussions
We will use WebCT as our online workspace. 
You are responsible for logging into your account every day
as all assignments and other requirements will be posted there.

In general, assignments will be accepted for 24 hours after the deadline.
A 10% penalty will be imposed on these late assignments.
However, any assignments used for purposes of discussion, presentation, or other classroom and collaborative work will NOT be accepted after the stated deadline.

Unannounced quizzes, based on completed homeworks and class discussions, will be given from time to time.  These will all be open book, open notes.  The lowest quiz will be dropped.  There will be no make-up opportunities available for these quizzes.


We will program in the MIPS assembly language,using the SPIM simulator available for UNIX, Windows, and DOS.
See SPIM documentation on the CD accompanying text
and on John Waldron's website.
See James Larus' website for latest version of SPIM.


CS26 or equivalent (Computer Programming Level II)

Special needs

If you are entitled to extra accommodation for any reason (such as a disability), we will make every reasonable attempt to accommodate you.  However, it is your responsibility to discuss this with the instructor at the beginning of the course.