EE392C Spring 2002-03

Advanced Topics in Computer Architecture:

Chip Multiprocessors & Polymorphic Processors

Professor Christos Kozyrakis


Basic Information


Lectures: Tue-Thu, 1:15pm - 2:30pm, Building 60 (Main Quad), Room 61A


Instructor: Christos Kozyrakis,

304 Gates Hall,, (650) 725-371

office hours: Mon. 2.30-3.30pm, Thu. 11am-noon (tentative)


TA: Metha Jeeradit,


Support: Chris Lilly

305 Gates Hall,, (650) 725-3927



Mailing-list: (need to signup)

Newsgroup: su.class.ee392c




Conventional processors are based on the uniprocessor model and can only exploit instruction-level parallelism. However, diminishing returns from scaling superscalar and VLIW designs, increased design complexity, and the ability to pack hundreds of millions of transistors in one chip suggest that future architectures will be single-chip multiprocessors (CMPs). This class will cover a class of CMPs with coarse-grain reconfiguration abilities that allow them to adapt their on-chip computing and memory resources to the parallelism (data-, task-, or instruction-level) available in each application. Such processors are known as polymorphic processors. The goal is to provide performance and power efficiency similar to application-specific designs while maintaining the programmability and flexibility of general-purpose processors.


Throughout the quarter, we will discuss a series of topics related to the architecture, programming model, compilation, and system software for CMP/polymorphic processors. The goal is to identify key research issues and, through the projects, evaluate the potential of promising techniques. This course is recommended for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science graduate students interested in advanced research in the area of computer systems.

Assignments & Grading


The course is organized as a series of in-class discussions. Students are expected to read before the class meeting the required research papers on the topic of the day. Students are also expected to a) lead one class meeting, b) keep notes in one class meeting, and c) actively participate in every class discussion. Check the corresponding web-page for further information on these assignments.


The project will allow you to investigate an open issue related to CMP/polymorphic processors. You will work on these projects in groups of 2 to 4 students. Each group will submit a detailed project proposal, a final report, and will present its work at the end of the quarter. Students will also review one final report of a group other than their own. The recommend that your project is directly related to one of the topics discussed in the class. Check the corresponding web-page for project proposals and information on the tools available. You can also propose you won research topic, as long as it is related to the issues analyzed in the class.


There will also be homework assignment that will ask you to identify the main trends and computing requirements of an important class of applications.


The course involves no midterm or final.


(Tentative) grade breakdown:

       40% Project

       25% Participation in in-class discussion

       10% Discussion leading

       10% Note scribing

       10% Applications study exercise

       5% Paper review




Prerequisites: At least one of EE282, CS243, or CS240 (or equivalent) is strongly recommended. Direct any questions to the instructor.


Textbook: none (see list of papers)