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Herbert J. Bernstein Professor of Computer Science
Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science, 150 Idle Hour Blvd., KSC 121, Oakdale, NY 11769-1999

91324 CSC 2060A -- Computer Organization -- Fall 2010
Wednesday 5:30 pm -- 8:11 pm RC 102

This web page is http://www.bernstein-plus-sons.com/.dowling/CSC2060F10/CSC2060_Syllabus.html
Copyright © 2009 Herbert J. Bernstein and other parties. All rights reserved.

This is the syllabus for CSC 2060 for Fall 2010. As the course moves forward, students should return to this page frequently for updated material.

Catalog description:

CSC 2060N. Computer Organization 3 credits

This course explores internal representation of data, CPU organization, memory hierarchy, digital circuit design, input and output devices and their interface with CPU and memory. Machine and assembly language programming are introduced and their connection to execution of high level language programs is explored. Also included is a brief look at the C programming language and its relation to the low-level constructs covered in the course. Prerequisite: CSC 1024N. Offered: 2008 2010.

The Fall 2010 section is:

91324  CSC  2060N  3.00  Compilers  Oakdale 
  Sep 1, 2010  Dec 18, 2010  05:30 pm - 8:11 pm  RC  102 
  Instructor(s): Herbert J. Bernstein 


Office Hours:

Note that, in general, Dr. Bernstein will be at the Oakdale campus on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Meetings at the Brookhaven campus are by appointment only. If no students are scheduled by 8:20 pm on any given Tuesday or Wednesday evening, those hours will be cancelled. If at all possible, please use email to schedule meetings in advance to avoid conflicts with other students and other obligations of the instructor.

For more information see http://www.bernstein-plus-sons.com/.dowling/HJB_Contact_Info.html.

Required Text:

Students are responsible for all assigned readings even if the material is not discussed in class.

Required Materials

Students are expected to have their text books no later than the second week of class. It is fine to form study groups and share the text, but every student is responsible for preparing notes on all the material in the text, and having those notes with them at every class meeting.


This class meets only once per week. Absence from any class meeting may cause the student to miss a significant portion of the material of the course. Therefore:

Attendance will be taken at all class meetings. All absences must be explained in writing (or via email). Students who miss one or more lectures must meet with the instructor to review their progress in the course. A midterm warning will be issued for any student who misses one or more lectures before the midterm, and such students will be advised to withdraw. Grades will be reduced for unexcused absences (see grading policy, below).

Arriving late disrupts the class for other students. To encourage and reward timely arrival, there will be a short quiz at the start of each class meeting. There will be no makeups for these quizzes.

Grading Policy:

This course will run as a seminar. Students will take over a major part of presenting material starting with the third meeting of the course (after the instructor has done a preliminary introduction to digital logic).

All students will be required to participate actively in classroom discussions and to lead discussions related to the assignments. One or more students will have to prepare and present a section of the Computer Organization text, and to lead discussion of the material and how that material applies to the term project.

All students will be required to communicate with the instructor via email. email.

As noted above students will be given daily brief quizzes. Quizzes will often be based on the assigned readings, asking material that has not yet been discussed in class. This is intended to encourage students to do the assigned readings. Even though the quizzes are open notes quizzes they are not not open book quizzes. There will be no makeups for these quizzes.

Every student will be required to maintain a contemporaneous hardbound notebook recording all significant activities related to this course. The notebook should record the major topics discussed, questions about the subject matter of the course and the answers when they are found, and all activites related to the course project (see below). The instructor will borrow the notebooks several times during the semester and grade them for thoroughness, clarity and relevance to the course. Only the portions of the notebook that are dated, written in the student's own hand and on the permanent pages of the notebook will be considered in the grading. Students are allowed to rewrite their notebooks and/or to use multiple notebooks.

The only way to learn technical material for use on computers well is to work with it. All assigments will focus on a single term project. Students must do the assignments steadily throughout the semester, not just to show that they know the material, but to give them the practice they need to learn the material well. Students have the option of working on the project individually or in groups, but to complete the course, each student will have to submit a completed project and demonstrate a complete understanding of the computer organization issues involved.

The term project for all students will have a common base element -- the design of a synchronous digital-logic emulator. Then, using that home-brewed emulator each project is to design, implement and test one or more significant computer components. Examples of acceptably significant components include: an IEEE floating point number adder, a double-buffered raster-graphics frame buffer with hidden-line removal, a high-speed bus controller. For a project by one student, a single component will suffice. For a joint project by more students, more components or more complexity will be required.

There will be a closed book, oprn-notes midterm exam. The mid-term evaluation will be also be based on classroom classroom attendance and participation, the notebook, assignments and quizzes.

A closed-book, open-notes final will be given. In general, except as noted above, no assignments will be accepted late and no makeups will be given for missed quizzes or examinations. Requests for exceptions to this policy will be considered only for the most pressing reasons (illness requiring hospitalization, death in the family, reserve call-up, etc.), must be submitted in writing or by email in a timely manner, and will be granted only if the instructor has sound reason to believe that the student is highly likely to master the material of the course within the current semester.

Course Syllabus

The course will begin with administrative matters and some issues not covered in the texts.

Course Objectives

Assessable Learning Outcomes

There will be an ungraded diagnostic quiz given during the first lecture to help students understand how well prepared they are for the work in this course.


Please consult the course assignments page frequently.

Updated 22 August 2010.