CS 270 presents a top-down introduction to computer architecture since students have completed 2 semesters of Java programming. The course begins with number representation and C programs; followed by the Von Neumann model, Instruction Set Architecture and assembly language programming; and ending with digital logic and gates. The concepts in this course will be reinforced through assignments in C, LC3 assembly language, and Logisim based circuit design.

The textbook covers this material in a bottom-up fashion so we will cover the chapters in a different order. See the Progress page.

Graded activities (recitations, assignments, exams) will occur each week.


Section 001
Lecture: 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM, Tue/Thu, Engineering 120
Instructor: Dave Matthews
Office Location: CSB 244
Office Hours: see my home page
Section 002
Lecture: 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM, Tue/Thu, Stadium 1204
Instructor: Yashwant Malaiya
Office Location: CSB 356
Office Hours: Monday 11-12, Thursday 2:30-3:30
Matt Dragan
Fahad Ullah
Derek Strobel
Jason Stock
Sean Thunquest
Please post questions on Piazza or send email inquiries to (forwarded to instructors, GTAs, and UTAs)


CS 161 (C or better), CS 200/220 (or concurrent registration), MATH 141 or MATH 155 or MATH 160 (C or better).


Computer Organization (Required):

Introduction to Computing Systems, from bits and gates to C and beyond
Patt and Patel (second edition)

iClickers (Required):

You are required to purchase an iClicker remote for in-class participation. iClicker is a response system that allows you to respond to questions we pose during class, and you will be graded on that feedback and participation. In order to receive this credit, you will need to register your iClicker remote on Canvas and bring it to the class everyday.

Lectures and Recitations

What Days Time Who Helper Where
Lecture (Section 001) Tue/Thu
Dave Engineering 120
Lecture (Section 002) Tue/Thu
Yashwant Stadium 1204
Recitation (L01) Wed/Fri
Fahad Sean COMSC 215
Recitation (L02) Wed/Fri
Fahad Jason COMSC 215
Recitation (L03) Wed/Fri
Fahad Jason COMSC 215
Recitation (L04) Wed/Fri
Matt Derek COMSC 215
Recitation (L05) Wed/Fri
Fahad Sean COMSC 215
Recitation (L06) Wed/Fri
Matt Jason COMSC 225
Recitation (L07) Wed/Fri
- - COMSC 325
Recitation (L08) Tue/Thu
Matt Derek COMSC 325
Recitation (L09) Wed/Fri
Matt Sean COMSC 225

Lab Hours (GTA)

Days Time Who Where
2-4 PM
Fahad COMSC 120
6-8 PM
10 AM - 12 PM
2-4 PM

Help Desk (UTA)

Days Time Who Where
2-4 PM
Derek COMSC 120
1-3 PM
2-4 PM
4-6 PM


The course requires demonstration of a student’s grasp of the concepts on evaluations. Here is the grading scheme:

Activity WeightDescription
Assignments 30% Assignments
Recitations 10% Lab Attendance and Completion
Quizzes 10% In-Class iClicker
Midterm 15% First Midterm
Midterm 15% Second Midterm
Final Exam 20% Comprehensive Final

If you believe you have been graded unfairly, please post a regrade request in Piazza following the guidelines below:
  • Make the post private!
  • Select p#_regrades as the folder (where # is the number of the programming assignment).
  • Explain why you believe you were graded unfairly.
Grades complaints will be considered only for two weeks immediately following when the assignment grade appears on Canvas!
  • Assignments will be done individually. As required by the department, we will check for collaboration using a software tool, so do your own work!
  • Recitation participation is strongly encouraged. Part of the class grade comes from successfully finishing the assigned lab work.
  • Peer Instruction sessions are held during lectures, usually on Thursdays. Scores are weighted as follows: 70% for participation, 30% for correctness.
The assignment of letter grades will be made as follows. The percentage / point values may be adjusted down, but they will not rise.

Letter Grade Points
A ≥90%
B ≥80%
C ≥70%
D ≥60%
F <60%

Your average score on exams must be ≥60% to receive a passing grade in this course.

Late and Makeup Policy

Midterm and Finals: Make-up exams are only given for extraordinary circumstances (e.g., illness, death of family member). Students must consult with the instructor as soon as possible, preferably before the start of the exam. Examination dates are listed in the syllabus; be aware of them and plan accordingly.

In-class Quizzes: Make-ups will be given for missed in-class quizzes (including peer instruction) if you have a documented excuse. If you are missing your iClicker during class, submit the answers on paper with your name and ID to the instructor at the end of that class, for up to 80% credit. This should be a rare occurrence.

On-line Quizzes: On-line quizzes will use Canvas. Two attempts within the given period (3 or more days) are permitted. Late submissions are not accepted.

Recitations: Make-ups will be given for missed recitations if you have a documented and approved excuse, please arrange with the instructor or a teaching assistant.

Programming assignments: Programs are submitted electronically. Details of how this is done appears with the first assignment. Always check the progress page for due dates. The due date will include a day and time. The assignment will also specify a late acceptance period which will include a late penalty of 20%. After the late period, electronic submission is closed; students that have not submitted programs receive no points for the assignment.

Important Dates

Date Description
First day of classes Mon., Aug. 21
Last day of classes Fri., Dec. 08
Deadline to add without override Sun., Aug. 27
Last day for restricted drop Wed., Sep. 06
Last day to withdraw Mon., Oct. 16
First Midterm Paper portion: Thu., Sep. 21
Second Midterm Paper portion: Thu., Oct. 26
Final Exam (Section 001) Paper portion: Wed., Dec. 13 2:00pm-4:00pm
Final Exam (Section 002) Paper portion: Tue., Dec. 12 9:40am-11:40am

The midterm and final exams will be held in the same classroom as regular lectures. The final exam is comprehensive, with more emphasis on the later part.

In Class Participation

All students taking this course are expected to participate actively. This includes asking and responding to questions. Students are also expected to scan the announcements on the home page and the progress page every day for updates. If an assignment changes significantly, we will send an email.