One-page class flyer
Over the 10 weeks of a quarter, the students read 5 Ph.D. dissertations by leading scholars in a field of computer science, spending 2 weeks on each one. In the first week, student read the introduction and background sections of the dissertation and the instructors lecture on the technical background as well as historical context. In the second week, the students read the rest of the dissertation and the author gives a guest lecture to the class. The selected dissertations change with each offering but are always from a coherent time period and topic area.
Coursework involves writing a 2 page report on 4 of the 5 dissertations, as well as reading and reporting on a 6th dissertation of the student's choosing. We will provide a list of suggestions for this final reading, but students may pick one not on the list. Undergraduate reports are required to ask 3 detailed technical questions, which course staff will organize and answer. Graduate reports are required to discuss how they see similarities, analogies, or differences with other research papers they have read.
In this first offering, the course will focus on computer architecture dissertations in the period of 1980-1992. For students inexperienced in architecture, we will assign background reading for the first 2 weeks instead of the first dissertation and this reading counts as 1 of the 4 dissertations they must read.
The prerequisites vary by year: in this offering, the "inexperienced" prerequisite is CS110 and the "experienced" prerequisite is EE282.