Non-conventional Computer Architecture, Fall 2021 (CSCI 780)

General Information

Course Description

It is a reading course where we will cover several non-conventional computing paradigms and architectures such as quantum computers, graphics architectures, cryogenic designs, and machine learning accelerators. The evaluation will be based on paper presentations, semester-long project, class participation etc. No prior background in computer architecture or any of the aforementioned topics is required.

Grade Distribution

Class Participation

(20 percent) You are expected to participate in the discussions. Your participation will be evaluated by the instructor. Regular meetings with the instructor on the projects also count.

Paper Critiques

(25 percent) Quantum Team will write critiques for the Graphics papers and vice-versa. Around 5-8 papers in total.

Deadline for the critique submission is just before the class when the paper is scheduled to be discussed.

Submission Format: Each critique should not exceed one-page (in the PDF format) and must consists of four sections: 1) paper summary (2-3 lines), 2) strengths (2-3 lines), 3) weaknesses (2-3 lines), and 4) comments (4-5 lines).

In-Class Presentations

(20 percent) Each student will present 1-2 papers throughout the semester. When you present a paper, be prepared to answer a variety of questions asked by the instructor or other fellow students. A list of papers will be provided to students.

(10 percent) We will have two project presentations during the entire semester: mid-term presentation and final presentation.

Semester-long Research Project

Piazza (Discussion Forum) and Blackboard

We will be using Piazza as an on-line forum for discussions. You will also receive notifications from the instructor via Piazza. Blackboard will contain course materials. All the submissions will be via Blackboard.

Optional Textbooks

Student Accessibility Services

William & Mary accommodates students with disabilities in accordance with federal laws and university policy. Any student who feels they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a learning, psychiatric, physical, or chronic health diagnosis should contact Student Accessibility Services staff at 757-221-2512 or at to determine if accommodations are warranted and to obtain an official letter of accommodation. For more information, please visit this website.

Honor Code

Students are required to follow the Honor System of William & Mary.