EE382N-10 – Parallel Computer Architecture (16355)

Fall 2005

Syllabus and Course Description



Instructor:                 Prof. Derek Chiou

                                    ENS 538



Lectures:                    MW 3:30PM-5:00PM

                        ENS 126


Office Hours:            M 5:00PM-7:00PM (after class) or by appointment

Unique numbers:      16355


Course Home Page:
On Blackboard.  You can try to get there from the following link but will have to login.


Course Objective: This course is intended to be a first graduate course in parallel computer architecture.  The course will focus primarily on parallel computer architecture, their evaluation and the tradeoffs made in their design, but will also touch on how the machines are used. 


Prerequisites: Students must know the principles of computer architecture.  You should have done well in EE360N or an equivalent class.  What I have been finding talking to students is that many have not taken a 360N equivalent class; it’s really much more similar to a graduate class in computer architecture than an undergraduate class. 


Students are strongly encouraged to have some understanding of concurrency and synchronization – i.e., CS372, EE345M or EE360P or equivalent.  Other knowledge that is helpful includes algorithms (e.g., EE360C) and compilers (CS375).   If you have any doubts of whether you have the appropriate knowledge, come talk to me. 


Required Text: Parallel Computer Architecture, Culler, Singh and Gupta. 


Evaluation: Your grade will be determined by the following:


I will be grading using a +, √, -, 0 grading scheme.  I don’t need 1 part out of 100 resolution to determine your grade, so I figure I won’t waste time getting to that resolution.


Meetings: All students are required to meet with me at least once during the first three weeks of class.  This meeting is intended for me to get to know you and for you to get to know me at little better.  You are, of course, welcome to come anytime during office hours and can make appointments to see me outside of office hours. 


College of Engineering Drop/Add Policy: The Dean must approve adding or dropping courses after the fourth class day of the semester. 


Cheating: The problem sets should only be done within your dynamic group.  Discussion of the problem set with anyone outside of your group will be considered cheating.  The problem sets are, in some sense, group take home exams.  The requirement of always switching partners helps me to better evaluate your ability, rather than the combination of you and your partner.  It is ok to discuss your class project with others outside of your group, but only to gather information (for example, you can write to the author of a paper for clarification) and not to bounce ideas off of each other.  For the oral exam, you will be required to sign a document stating that you did not receive any help with the exam nor would you give any help for the exam.


If you cheat, you violate the soul of the University, which we take very seriously, and will deal with in the harshest possible way. If you have any question as to what is permitted and what is not, ask the instructor FIRST. If you don't ask first, and you do something that is not allowed, the response "I thought it was okay" is not an acceptable justification.

Allegations of Scholastic Dishonesty will be dealt with according to the procedures outlined in Appendix C, Chapter 11, of the General Information Bulletin,

Students with Disabilities: The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471-4641 TTY or the College of Engineering Director of Students with Disabilities at 471-4382.

Topics I intend to cover, in no particular order:

Important Dates:


Notable event

Monday, Aug 31

Problem Set 1 Issued

Monday, Sep 5

Labor Day, no class

Tuesday, Sep 6

Last day of the official add/drop period.

Wednesday, Sep 7

Monday, Sep 12

Wednesday, Sep 14

Monday, Sep 19

Problem Set 1 Due, Problem Set 2 Issued

Wednesday, Sep 21

Monday, Sep 2 26

Wednesday, Sep 28

Last day to drop a course without academic penalty

Monday, Oct 3

Wednesday, Oct 5

Project proposal due

Monday, Oct 10

Problem Set 2 Due, Problem Set 3 Issued

Wednesday, Oct 12

Monday, Oct 17

Last day to apply for a graduate degree

Wednesday, Oct 19

Monday, Oct 24

Wednesday, Oct 26

Problem Set 3 Due, Problem Set 4 Issued

Monday, Oct 31

Wednesday, Nov 2

Monday, Nov 7

Wednesday, Nov 9

Monday, Nov 14

Problem Set 4 Due

Wednesday, Nov 16

Monday, Nov 21


Wednesday, Nov 23

Monday, Nov 28

Wednesday, Nov 30

Project Paper Due

Monday, Dec 5

Wednesday, Dec 7


Project Presentations on Finals Day

Note:  Classes are normally scheduled for Mondays and Wednesdays.  We are likely to have guest lecturers during the semester.  In addition, the Computer Architecture seminar series is held during class time on Mondays.  If there is an especially interesting seminar, we will attend the seminar in place of class.