SI232 Introduction to Computer Architecture 
Spring 2006 Course Policy

Instructor: Asst. Prof. Luke McDowell, Office: Michelson 353, Phone: x36811, Email:, Note the unfortunate lack of a final ‘l’ in that email address.

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

Course Goals:

1. To present concepts and theories related to general-purpose computer systems, and to build an understanding of the planning, design, construction, and use of such systems.

2. To introduce strategies needed to critically evaluate the designs of computer systems.

3. To instruct midshipmen in the security, privacy and ethical issues relevant to information systems.

ABET Program Outcomes: Ability to

1.      Describe the fundamentals of computer networks, architecture, and operating systems.

2.      Evaluate contemporary legal, social, and ethical issues in computing professions.

Course Grading:


6-Week Grade 


Final Grade 

6-Week Exam 




12-Week Exam 












Final Exam 




The instructor reserves the right to fail a student who fails the final. Any cheating will result in, at a minimum, a grade of zero on the offending assignment, quiz, or exam.

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 is permitted in the lab.  Drinks with closeable caps are permitted.
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.  There will be a break during double period classes.

Late Submission: Unless otherwise specified, assignments will be due promptly at the start of class. After class starts, submissions made before 0800 on the following business day are 1 day late, by 0800 the next business day are 2 days late, etc.  Assignments submitted n working days late (fractional days will be rounded up!) will receive an automatic 3n+1 point penalty. If you wish to request special consideration because of illness etc., contact the instructor before the deadline!

Exams: All exams are effectively cumulative, though the 12-week exam emphasizes material covered since the previous exam. The final 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.  A word processor (with spelling checker) is required for the text portions of the assignment.

Homework: Homework problem sets will be assigned at the discretion of the instructor.. A word processor (with spelling checker) is required for the text portions of the homework. The remainder of the homework may be NEATLY drawn by hand.

Honor: All quizzes and exams are individual effort only. Unless otherwise specified, you may discuss homeworks, labs, and projects 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 

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. Come prepared with specific questions or areas to be discussed. Bring your book, notes, or assignments to EI.  Extra instruction is normally available during weekdays by appointment. Send email or call if you wish an appointment – call if you’re asking about something 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.  E-mail questions are also encouraged, as formulating the question can help the student understand the answer.  In most cases, e-mail will be answered within one working day.

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. 






Luke McDowell, Ph.D.

Computer Science Department

Kay G Schulze, Ph.D. 
Computer Science Department

Course Coordinator