Tuesday and Thursday 2:00pm to 3:15pm in Sitterson 014

Teaching Team

Instructor: Gary Bishop, Sitterson 255, 962–1886, gb at

TA: Brian Cornell, Sitterson 023, cornell at

Office Hours

Gary will be available by appointment. Check my online calendar, choose a time that works for you, and propose it to be via email; I will confirm if I can meet with you at that time.

Brian will be available from 1:30-2:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays and by appointment.


Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface by David A. Patterson and John L. Hennessy (3rd edition)


The SPIM simulator developed by James R. Larus will be used for many of the assignments. It is available on ATN machines and/or you may download it to your own machine as described on page xviii of your book.

Web page

All class handouts will be distributed via our web page. It is your responsibility to watch for updates and assignments. I am trying out Wordpress as the content management system this year. I plan to allow you to comment on postings, and maybe to post if we think of a use for it.
To turn in your assignments use the digital drop box on our Blackboard page.

Exams and Grading

Exam 1:(10%) Thursday 15 February.

Last day to drop: Tuesday 6 March.

Exam 2: (20%) Thursday 27 March.

Final Exam: (30%) Tuesday 8 May at 8am. This date and time is fixed by the Office of the Registrar and is not negotiable. Attendance at the final exam is mandatory. If you are absent from the final exam, your grade will be recorded as AB, AB/F or FA as required by College policy.

Assignments: (40%) Best 8 out of 10.
Each of the exams will be cumulative.

Late Homework Policy: Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the specified due date. No credit will be given for late assignments but the lowest 2 scores will be dropped.
Making up homework and examinations: Serious illness, a death in the family, and activities such as intramural meets and student exchange programs can justify waiving or relaxing the usual rules for class work and examinations. But the vicissitudes of student life, including the consequences of procrastination and commitments to other courses, cannot. In circumstances that merit special treatment, documentation is usually available to the student, and I feel most comfortable when a request for special consideration is accompanied by appropriate written material supporting the request. In cases where events that will interfere with course work are foreseen, a student should discuss the matter with me well before the work is due.

Incompletes: An incomplete will only be given for serious emergencies. Documentation (such as a physician’s note) is required.

The above percentages add up to 100%, but I reserve the right to apply a 10% fudge factor to give consideration to things such as good class participation, stellar programs, improving program scores over the semester, and bona fide extenuating circumstances.

Cooperation and the Honor Code

Honor Code

  1. You are encouraged and expected to discuss the material in class and all assignments among yourselves.
  2. You are permitted to discuss all aspects of the assignments with anyone.
  3. Keys for nearly all homework and programs will distributed about a week after the due date. You are not permitted to use the homework or program keys from previous semesters, nor to share the ones received in this course with Comp 120 students in future semesters.
  4. You are encouraged and permitted to discuss and cooperate on all written assignments, but you are expected to understand all material that you submit.
  5. You are encouraged to discuss all programming assignments, but not your solutions. Specifically,
    1. To make learning to use the SPIM simulator easier, you are free to seek help from any source for the first two programming assignments. The programs you hand in must be your own work, but they can be based on unlimited help in all aspects from any sources whatsoever. You should cite in the documentation of your programs anyone who you worked with to complete your assignment.
    2. The rest of the programs are to be done independently by each student. For details on how the Honor Code applies to these programs, consult the handout ‘Honor Code Observation in Computer Science Courses.’
    3. You are prohibited from posting answers to questions from the textbook on the web where the will be accessible to students at other universities.


Material for these slides were adapted from developed by Tod Amon for Morgan Kaufmann Publishers. They want me to include the following:

  • “Copyright 1998 Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.” Permission is granted to alter and distribute this material provided that the following credit line is included: “Adapted from (complete bibliographic citation). Copyright 1998 Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.”

And from David Patterson’s lecture slides from his course at the University of California, Berkeley CA. They also want me to include the following line:

  • “Copyright 1997 UCB.” Permission is granted to alter and distribute this material provided that the following credit line is included: “Adapted from (complete bibliographic citation). Copyright 1997 UCB.

Pictures on some of slides were copied from random web sites.