TCSS 371A Machine Organization (Fall 2009)

Course Description:      

Develops the hardware basis for computing systems, and relationship between hardware and software. Covers number representations, digital logic, machine organization, instruction set architecture, and assembly language. Includes an introduction to high-level languages and the translation of such a language into machine instructions.
(CSS 371 Course Objectives)
Prerequisites: TCSS 143 or CSE 143.


TTh 10:20-12:25   CP 324


Larry A. Crum, Professor Emeritus
Office: Cherry Parkes 224
Office Hours:   TTh 9:30 - 10:15,   TTh 2:30 - 4:00,   & by Appointment
Phone: (253) 692-5866


Introduction to Computing Systems      
From Bits & Gates to C & Beyond

Second Edition (2004)

Yale N. Patt & Sanjay J. Patel
McGraw Hill   ISBN 0-07-246750-9

The book is organized in two parts:
  • the underlying structure of a computer, including machine and assembly language programming, and

  • compiling higher level languages into machine language and executing the target program.
To understand the computer, the authors introduce the LC-3 and provide the LC-3 Simulator to give students hands-on access for testing what they learn. To develop their understanding of programming and programming methodology, they use the C programming language. The book takes a "motivated" bottom-up approach, where the students first get exposed to the big picture and then start at the bottom and build their knowledge bottom-up. Within each smaller unit, the same motivated bottom-up approach is followed. Every step of the way, students learn new things, building on what they already know. The authors feel that this approach encourages deeper understanding and downplays the need for memorizing. Students develop a greater breadth of understanding, since they see how the various parts of the computer fit together.



Structured Computer Organization (5th Edition), Andrew S. Tannenbaum, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006
Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface (Fourth Edition), David A. Patterson & John L. Hennessy, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers (Elsevier Inc.), 2010
Computer Systems (Third Edition), J. Stanly Warford, Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2005
LogicWorksTM 5 Interactive Circuit Design Software, Capilano Computing, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004
Digital Design: Principles and Practices Package (4th Edition), John F. Wakerly, Prentice Hall, 2005
The Art of Electronics (2nd Edition), Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill, Cambridge press, 1989

Class Schedule:

  Week:       Date                            Topic     Reading Lecture Slides/References Assignment (Due 2nd class after assigned
                        30% deduction after due class
                        50% deduction next class)
        1: Thur - Oct 1 Introduction, Data types, Conversions Chap 1, 2.1-2.5, E Introduction Slides
Homework Format
HW1: 1-3,5,10,12,15,18; 2-2,4,8,10,11,13,48

        2: Tue - Oct 6 Binary Arith, FP, ASCII, Combinational Logic Chap 2.6-2.7, 3.1-3.2 Arith/Logic Slides HW2: 2-18,20,21,30,38,40,52,54; 3-2,5,6,7,16,23,44
Thur - Oct 8 Comb Circuits, Timing, Sequential Logic Chap 3.3.1-3.3.3, 3.3.5, 3.4 Comb Cir/Seq Logic Slides HW3a: 3-22,24a,26,27

        3 : Tue - Oct 13 State Machines, Memory Chap 3.5-3.6 State Machines/Memory Slides HW3b: 3-33,34,42,43
Thur - Oct 15 Von Neumann Model, Basic Computer Org, Buses Chap 4.1-4.5 Von Neuman, Comp Org Slides HW4: 4-4,5,7,8,16ab

        4 : Tue - Oct 20 LC-3, ISA, Addr Modes, Operate & Data Move Inst Chap 5.1-5.2, A.1-A.3 Instruc Set Architecture Slides HW5a: 5-4,5,7,9,13,14

Thur - Oct 22 Midterm (Through Chap 4) Midterm 1 Solution

        5 : Tue - Oct 27 Control Instructions Chap 5.3-5.6 Instruc Set Architecture 2 Slides HW5b: 5-17,19,23,24

Thur - Oct 29 Machine Language Programming, Simulator Chap 6.1-6.2 LC-3 Instructions
LC-3 Simulator & Editor
Machine Language Prog Slides

HW6 Machine Programming

        6 : Tue - Nov 3 Assembly Language Programming, I/O Chap 7.1-7.4, 8.1-8.4 Assy Language Prog Slides

HW7 Assembly Programming

Thur - Nov 5 Interrupt I/O, TRAP's Chap 8.5-8.6, 9.1 I/O Programming Slides

HW8 I/O Trap Routines

        7 : Tue - Nov 10 Subroutines, Stacks Chap 9.2, 10.1 Subroutines & Stacks

HW9 Subroutines and Stack

Thur - Nov 12 Interrupts, Context Switches Chap 10.2-10.5, A.4 Interrupt Slides

HW10 Interrupts

        8 : Tue - Nov 17 C Programming, C Variables/types, C Compiler Chap 11.1-11.6, 12.1-12.7, 15.1-15.6, D C Compiler Slides
C Compiler (Target LC-3)
First Compiled C Program
Thur - Nov 19 Midterm Midterm 2 Solution

        9 : Tue - Nov 24 C Control Structures, Pointers Chap 13.1-13.6, 16.1-16.2 Second Compiled C Program

Thur - Nov 26 Thanksgiving

        10 : Tue - Dec 1 C Functions Chap 18.1-18.6, 14.1-14.3 C Stack Organization Slides
HW11 C Program
Thur - Dec 3 C Stack Frames, Recursion, and Pointer Variables Chap 16.3-16.4, 17.1-17.8 Stack Frames / Pointer Variables
HW12 C I/O Program
(due at the Final Exam)

        11 : Tue - Dec 8 C I/O, Pointer Variables, Linking Assembly Functions More SF / PV Slides
Third Compiled C Program Interrupt Example

Thur - Dec 10 Putting it Together RapUp Slides
Final Prep

        12 : Thur - Dec 17 Final Exam Final Exam Solution


Midterms (20% each), Final Exam (25%), Homework (25%), Class Contribution (10%)

Characteristics of an A student - Work is outstanding in quality, and shows unusual understanding, insight, and creativity. It is consistently presented very clearly and professionally. (S)he consistently contributes to the understanding of others.
Characteristics of a B student - Work done is complete, predominance of it is correct, and it is well presented. (S)he contributes to the understanding of others.
Characteristics of a C student - Work is basically complete and correct, and it is presented coherently. The student is prepared to use the material in the next course but will likely need additional study in the area.


Students are encouraged to collaborate regularly with colleagues to gain a deep understanding of the material, and to gain insight on options for problem solutions. Submitted are to display individual knowledge and accomplishment. Any significant contribution in a submission must be acknowledged and the responsible student or source given due credit. See

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