18-447 Introduction to Computer Architecture, Spring 2017


  • Lab sections will not meet the first week of school.
  • TAs will be available during scheduled lab hours. It does not matter which lab section you sign up for. You are only required to be present for lab check-offs. The entire group must be present for check-off.
  • New for Spring 2017: the processor design project will be based on the RISC-V ISA.

Course Description

Computer architecture is the science and art of selecting and interconnecting hardware components to create a computer that meets functional, performance and cost goals. This course introduces the basic principles and hardware structures of a modern programmable computer. We will learn, for example, how to design the control and datapath for a pipelined RISC processor and how to design fast memory and storage systems. The principles presented in lecture are reinforced in the laboratory through design and simulation of a register transfer (RT) implementation of a RISC processor pipeline in Verilog.

Prerequisites: 18-240 and 15/18-213 and (18340 or 18341 or 18348 or 18349 or 18320)


  • Instructors
  • Teaching Assistants
    • Steven Kool
    • Amanda Marano
    • Brandon Perez
    • Neil Ryan

Office Hours


  • Lecture: MW, 12:30PM to 02:20PM, PHA18A
  • Lab Section A: Tue, 10:30AM to 01:20PM, HH1303
  • Lab Section B: Thu, 1:30PM to 04:20PM, HH1303
    Note: It doesn't matter which section you sign up for. You can get checked off during either section period.


  • Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface, Fifth Edition by Patterson and Hennessy, Morgan Kaufmann/Elsvier. (Required)
  • Also useful, textbooks from 18-240 and 15/18-213