Topics in Computer Architecture, Fall 2020 (CSCI 780)

General Information


Students are expected to have a good understanding of the basic computer organization and design (i.e., comparable to the material covered by CSCI 424/524). Please talk to the instructor if you do not satisfy this expectation.

Course Description

This is a seminar-type graduate course, where we will discuss research papers on many different topics (e.g., cache or memory systems, scheduling, resource management, micro-architecture, emerging technologies/architectures) in the broad areas of computer architecture and systems. Students are expected to read a variety of papers, critique them, and present them in the front of the class. In addition, students are expected to complete a semester-long research project.

Grade Distribution

Class Participation

You are expected to participate in the discussions. Your participation (on Zoom and Piazza) will be evaluated by the instructor.

Paper Critiques

All students are required to submit a critique on the paper going to be discussed in the class. However, the student who presents that paper in-class is not required to submit the critique for that particular paper. Deadline for the critique submission is just before the class starts.

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

Each student will present 2-3 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. They can choose from that list or come up with their own suggestions. Suggestions would need approval from the instructor.

Semester-long Research Project


Class Schedule

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. Piazza and Blackboard will also contain course materials. All the submissions will be via Blackboard.

Useful Links

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.