CS349G: Selected Reading of Ph.D. Dissertations
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. The author of dissertation gives a
guest lecture, followed by a lecture by
a Stanford colleague who discusses the
impact of the guest's work. 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 covered
dissertations, as well as reading and
reporting on a 5th dissertation. This
fifth paper may either be on 5th
dissertation covered, or one of the
student's choosing. 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. Students
are encouraged to take the course S/NC but
may take it for a grade after discussing it
with the instructors.
In Winter 2021, the course
focuses on computer architecture
in the period of
1980-1992. Based on their background, students
may classify as either "inexperienced" or "experienced"
in computer architecture based on their prior
coursework. Students who have completed CS110
but no computer architecture courses, or EE108 are "inexperienced".
Students who have completed EE282 (or equivalent) are "experienced."
"Inexperienced" students replace the first dissertation
with background reading in computer architecture.
Due to the depth of the technical material, we
do not recommend the course to students who have not
completed at least one of CS110, EE108, or EE282. If you have questions about
these preprequisites, please contact the course staff.
||Introduction, Foundations of Architecture: Logic, Delay, and Timing
||Foundations of Architecture: Instructions, Pipelining, and Caches
||Reader, Chapter 15;
P&H, AQA: B.1-3, C.1-2
(both in Canvas)
|Dean, Ch. 1-3
||Martin Luther King holiday, no class
||Reading a Dissertation
||Dean, Ch. 1-3, 6
||Dean, Ch. 4-6
||Report on Dean: 1/22
||Mark Dean's work (Phil)
||Hannah, Ch. 1, 2, Geometry Engine
||Marc Hannah's work (Phil)
||Hannah, Ch. 3, 4
||Valerie Taylor's work (Phil)
||Hannah, Ch. 5
||Kunle Olukotun's work (John): speculation, multicore
||Hannah, Ch. 6
||Report on Hannah: 2/5
||Mark Dean lecture
||Taylor, Ch. 1-3
||Mark Horowitz: clocking today
||Taylor, Ch. 4, 5
||President's Day, no class
||Marc Hannah lecture
||Taylor, Ch. 6-8
||Report on Taylor: 2/19
||Pat Hanrahan: graphics hardware today
||Olukotun, Ch. 1
||Timothy Pinkston's work (John): interconnection networks
||Olukotun, Ch. 2
||Valerie Taylor lecture
||Olukotun, Ch. 3, 5
||Fredrik Kjolstad: computing sparse systems today
||Pinkston, Ch. 1-3
||Report on Olukotun: 3/5
||Kunle Olukotun lecture
||Pinkston, Ch. 4
Christos Kozyrakis, the billion transistor era and why multicore won:
||Pinkston, Ch. 5
||Timothy Pinkston lecture
||Pinkston, Ch. 6-7
||Bill Dally: interconnects today
||Report on Pinkston: Thursday 3/18
Each student is required to write a
2-page (~1000 words) report on each
dissertation. Inexperienced students
read half of the Dean's dissertation and
complement it with background reading
in architecture. A
student may opt to replace one
of the assigned dissertations with one
of their own choosing. The
dissertation should be in the field of
computer architecture, but may be more modern.
An undergraduate report should include:
- A summary of the 2-3 points that you
found the most interesting/educational.
- A list of the web pages or other sources
you used to fill in anything you did not know.
- Any aspect of the technical work which you
had a lot of trouble understanding or could
not figure out. If the latter, explain your best
guess about it.
A graduate report should include:
- The ideas you found the most interesting/educational and why.
- Whether you think the dissertation delivered on its claimed
contributions and why.
- Where you think the ideas in the dissertation could
manifest in future computer hardware.
The report must be sent as a PDF document to the
staff mailing list by 9:59PM on the day it is due.