CS 270 presents a top-down introduction to computer architecture after students have completed an introduction to Java programming.

    The course contains:
  • C programming
  • Number representation;
  • The Von Neumann model
  • Instruction Set Architecture
  • Assembly language programming;
  • 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.

Course Info

Phil Sharp
Office Location: CSB 248
Office Hours: T 11 am - 12 pm, W 10 am - 11 am and by appointment

Section 1
Tue, Thur 9:30 - 10:45 am
Clark A201

TA help hours here


CS 163/4 (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)


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

Activity Weight Description
Assignments 25% C and LC3 programs, logic designs
Recitations 10% Attendance and Completion
Quizzes 11% iClicker and Canvas
Midterm 18% First Midterm
Midterm 18% Second Midterm
Final Exam 18% Final

If you believe you have been graded unfairly, please notify the instructor by posting to piazza using the following instructions.
  • Make the post private!
  • 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.
  • Quizzes will be done individually on Canvas as homework and in class using an iClicker.
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 ≥65% to receive a passing grade (C) 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. five attempts within the given period 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.

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

First Midterm Friday, 2/21
Second Midterm Friday, 4/3
Final Exam (Early Access) Friday, 5/8

Midterms and Final Location

The midterms and the final exam will be held in the CS110 lab. The procedure for the final exam will be given in May.

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.