CS 270 presents a top-down introduction to computer architecture after students have completed 2 semesters of Java programming. The course begins with C programs and number representation; 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 for more information.

Graded activities will occur each week.


Section 001
Lecture: 9:30 - 10:45 AM, Tue/Thu, Clark A201
Instructor: Dave Matthews
Office Location: CSB 244
Office Hours: see my home page
Zahra Borhani
Fahad Ullah
Jason Stock
Sabrina White
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 Section Days Time Where Who Helper
Lecture 001 Tue/Thu
Clark A201 Dave
Recitation L02 Wed/Fri
COMSC 225 Fahad, Zahra None
Recitation L03 Wed/Fri
COMSC 225 Zahra Jason
Recitation L04 Wed/Fri
COMSC 225 Zahra Jason
Recitation L05 Wed/Fri
COMSC 225 Fahad Sabrina
Recitation L06 Wed/Fri
COMSC 225 Fahad Sabrina

Lab Hours (GTA)

Days Time Who Where
11 AM - 1 PM
Fahad COMSC 120
7 PM - 10 PM
11 AM - 1 PM
8 AM - 9 AM

Help Desk (UTA)

Days Time Who Where
6 PM - 8 PM
Sabrina COMSC 120
11 AM - 1 PM
12 PM - 2 PM
2 PM - 4 PM


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

Activity Weight Description
Assignments 30% C and LC3 programs, logic designs
Recitations 10% Attendance and Completion
Quizzes 10% iClicker and Canvas
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 regrades as the folder.
  • 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!
  • Recitations 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 Final Exams: Examination dates are listed in the syllabus; be aware of them and plan accordingly. Make-up exams are only given for extraordinary circumstances (e.g., illness, death of family member). Students must notify the instructor as soon as possible, preferably before the start of the exam, so other arragmentments can be made.

On-line Quizzes: On-line quizzes will use Canvas. Two attempts within the given period are permitted. Late submissions are not accepted.

Peer Instruction: Make-ups will be given for missed peer instruction if you have a documented excuse. Please arrange with the instructor or a teaching assistant. 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 partial credit. This should be a rare occurrence; the amount of partial credit will decrease each occurrence.

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 may 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 zero points for the assignment.

Important Dates

Date Description
First day of classes Tue, Jan 15
Deadline to add without override Sun, Jan 21
Registration (drop/add) closes Wed, Jan 31
First Midterm Tue, Feb 20
Spring Break Mon, Mar 12 - Fri, Mar 16
Last day to withdraw Mon, Mar 19
Second Midterm Tue, Apr 03
Last day of classes Fri, May 04
Final Exam (Section 001) Thu, May 10, 2:00pm-4:00pm

The midterm and final exams will be held in the same classroom as regular lectures.

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.