IC220 Computer Architecture & Organization (3 cred.)
Spring 2011 Course Policy


o  Asst. Prof. Luke McDowell (coordinator), Michelson 353, Phone: x36811,
lmcdowel@usna.edu. Note the unfortunate lack of a final ‘l’ in that email address.

o  Capt Sean Forester, USMC, Michelson 319, Phone: x5251, forester@usna.edu.

Text: Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface, Fourth Edition, David A. Patterson and John L. Hennessy, Morgan Kauffman Publishers.  A must have!

Learning objectives.   Students will:

1.                    Critically evaluate the performance of computer systems; (supports Program Outcome(f-written)

2.                    Discuss modern trends and challenges in computer system design;

3.                    Understand how assembly language instructions are represented and executed by a processor;

4.                    Write short, procedural assembly language programs;

5.                    Specify and minimize digital logic (supports Program Outcome (c) )

6.                    Describe how the datapath and control work together in a processor to execute a program;

7.                    Describe the memory hierarchy and be able to evaluate strategies for improving its performance; (supports Program Outcome (a)

8.                    Understand the ethical issues and responsibilities of fair use with regard to hardware and software and its local and global impact on organizations (supports Program Outcomes (e) and (g) ).


ABET Program Outcomes.  Contributes to:

a.) An ability to apply knowledge of computing and mathematics appropriate to the discipline;

c.) An ability to design, implement and evaluate a computer-based system, process, component, or program to meet desired needs;

e.) An understanding of professional, ethical, legal, security, and social issues and responsibilities;

f.) An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences;

g.) An ability to analyze the local and global impact of computing on individuals, organizations and society;

Course Grading:


6-Week Grade 


Final Grade 

6-Week Exam 




12-Week Exam 












Final Exam 





Assignments are a vital part of student learning for this course. Consequently, to possibly receive a passing grade at 6-weeks, 12-weeks, or End-of-term, all homeworks, labs, and projects due to-date must be completed and turned in, even if the deadline for receiving credit on those assignments has passed.

The instructor reserves the right to fail a student who fails the final exam. Any cheating (including the receiving or giving of unauthorized assistance) will result in, at a minimum, a grade of zero on the offending assignment, quiz, or exam. All offenses will be reported to the Honor system.

Class Participation: Class participation is encouraged and expected.  The instructor reserves the right to adjust the composite grade by as much as two points based on class participation.

Classroom Decorum:
1. No food or smokeless tobacco is allowed in classrooms or labs. Beverages in closeable containers are allowed.
2. Sleeping –not permitted.  It is your responsibility to stand in the back of the room if necessary.
3. Visit the head before class if needed.

Late Policy. Credit depends upon when an assignment (project, homework, lab) is submitted:

1.  Full credit      (submitted promptly at start of class on the due date)

2.  20% off          (submitted before 0800 on the following business day)

3.  No credit        (submitted after that.  Recall all assignments must be submitted to possibly earn a passing grade)

Exams: All exams are effectively cumulative, though the 12-week exam emphasizes material covered since the previous exam. The final exam will be cumulative.

Projects, Papers and Labs: Projects and papers assignments will be assigned that reinforce course concepts. The projects will be done using SPIM, a simulator, and the Logic Works circuit prototyping application. This software is installed in CS Dept labs, and is also available for you to use in Bancroft.

Honor: All projects, quizzes, and exams are individual effort only. Unless otherwise specified, you may discuss homeworks and labs as much as you like with other students, provided that:

1.       You must clearly identify those that you collaborated with when turning in the assignment.

2.       You must fully understand all of the techniques and solutions in your homework.

3.       The actual pencil-to-paper or fingers-to-keyboard effort must be your own.  Sharing files or parts of files between students is not permitted.

In addition, individual effort before such collaboration is encouraged, as it will facilitate understanding of the material. You are also expected to be familiar with the relevant policies at http://www.usna.edu/CS/academics/honor.htm. 

Quizzes: Short quizzes will be given at the discretion of the instructor. Quizzes may be announced or unannounced. You are responsible to keep up with the material in class.

Reading Assignments: Reading assignments are from the text, and may be supplemented by handouts or additional assignments. Class lectures will cover most of the material presented in these assignments, however due to time constraints some of the material in the assignments will not be explicitly covered during the class periods. You are responsible for the whole assignment.

Extra Instruction:  Extra Instruction (EI) is available and encouraged when your own attempts to understand the subject matter are unsuccessful. However, you must come prepared with specific questions or areas to be discussed (i.e. have read the assigned readings). If you have missed class, get the notes from a classmate. Do not ask or expect to receive EI on material that you have slept through. EI is normally available during weekdays by appointment. Send email or call if you wish an appointment – call if you’re requesting a time within the next few hours. Although students may show up at the instructor's office without appointment, no expectation of instructor availability should be assumed.  Email questions are also encouraged, though in some cases the reply will request in-person EI as the most effective solution.

Absences: Students are responsible for obtaining any material missed due to an absence (notes, handouts, etc.) from the instructor, class web site, section leader or classmates.  Additionally, students must ensure that their work is submitted by the deadline regardless of other commitments, i.e. duty, sick call, movement orders.  Should bona fide emergencies arise, it is the responsibility of the student to coordinate with the instructor before the relevant deadlines






Assoc. Prof. Luke McDowell

Computer Science Department

Prof. Donald Needham
Computer Science Department

Course Coordinator 

Department Chair