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191.105 Advanced Computer Architecture
This course is in all assigned curricula part of the STEOP.
This course is in at least 1 assigned curriculum part of the STEOP.

2020W, VU, 3.0h, 4.5EC


  • Semester hours: 3.0
  • Credits: 4.5
  • Type: VU Lecture and Exercise
  • Format: Distance Learning

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the course, students are able to grasp concepts and solid understanding of computer design tradeoffs and cutting-edge research in computer architecture. In particular, this course aims at enabling students to acquire:

  • detailed knowledge about the structure and organization of advanced processors in different fields of applications, including superscalar and VLIW processors, multi-core and many-cores, heterogeneous architectures, advanced memory hierarchies, and on-chip interconnection networks.
  • the ability to design, evaluate and optimize processors and memory sub-system for various fields of applications in a systematic way following a quantitative approach.
  • the ability to design, evaluate and optimize advanced architectural features of microprocessors to accelerate different functions of given applications.

By the end of the course, the students should acquire detailed knowledge of computer architecture and understand the major architectural styles and operating principles used in advanced computing systems. They should be able to understand the importance of memory hierarchy, the fundamentals of different types of memory systems, and the design challenges and solutions in advanced memory sub-systems for multi-core processors. They should also be able to understand most of the advanced architectural features used in state-of-the-art high-performance computing systems for improving the execution speed of a given application program. Apart from these, the students should be able to understand the emerging architectural trends and the current research in the field of computer architecture.

Subject of course

Further info and links to lab exercises:

Computer architecture covers designing and interconnecting different hardware components as well as the required hardware-software interface to enable a computing machine that can meet the functional requirements with high efficiency in terms of cost, performance, energy consumption, dependability, and security. This course provides a solid understanding of the fundamentals of advanced computer architecture used to build modern high-performance and energy-efficient processors. The course will cover the following topics with an emphasis on the state-of-the-art works and emerging trends.

  • Fundamentals of Computer Architecture
  • Memory Hierarchy
  • Cache Architectures, Management and Memory Parallelism
  • Main Memory and DRAM Fundamentals
  • Out-of-Order Execution
  • SIMD Processors and GPUs
  • Advanced Branch Prediction and Control-Flow Handling
  • State Maintenance and State Recovery
  • Instruction Scheduling
  • Memory Interfaces and Quality-of-Service
  • Multi-Core Cache Management and Cache Coherence
  • Prefetching
  • Heterogeneous Multi-Cores
  • Emerging Memory Technologies
  • Interconnects
  • Power Management

Teaching methods

  • Lecture slides
  • Supporting material for the class project and the assignments.
  • Textbook

Mode of examination


Additional information

An overview and introduction to this course (as well as other Master courses offered by the ECS group) will be given on

Oct 2nd 2020 at 9am at 



30h ...   presence in the lecture
50h ...   solution of assignments and class project
32.5h ...   preparation for exam
112.5h ...  equals to 4.5 ECTS


J.L. Hennessy, D. Patterson: Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers

Other Readings:

  • Research papers, wherever applicable, that are typically published at top conferences like ISCA, MICRO, HPCA, and ASPLOS. Students are encouraged to dig deeper into the original source of covered topics themselves for more details.
  • Lecture Slides.



Course dates

Wed13:00 - 17:0007.10.2020 - 27.01.2021 (LIVE)Lecture
Advanced Computer Architecture - Single appointments
Wed07.10.202013:00 - 17:00
Wed14.10.202013:00 - 17:00
Wed21.10.202013:00 - 17:00
Wed28.10.202013:00 - 17:00
Wed04.11.202013:00 - 17:00
Wed11.11.202013:00 - 17:00
Wed18.11.202013:00 - 17:00
Wed25.11.202013:00 - 17:00
Wed02.12.202013:00 - 17:00
Wed09.12.202013:00 - 17:00
Wed16.12.202013:00 - 17:00
Wed13.01.202113:00 - 17:00
Wed20.01.202113:00 - 17:00
Wed27.01.202113:00 - 17:00

Examination modalities

The students will be evaluated based on

  • a class project
  • a oral exam

Course registration

Begin End Deregistration end
02.10.2020 00:00 29.10.2020 23:59


Study CodeSemesterPrecon.Info
066 938 Computer Engineering


No lecture notes are available.

Previous knowledge

* Knowledge of Computer Organization and Design is beneficial.

Preceding courses