Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


A.Y. Credits
2021/2022 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Alessandro Bogliolo
Teaching in foreign languages
Course with optional materials in a foreign language English
This course is entirely taught in Italian. Study materials can be provided in the foreign language and the final exam can be taken in the foreign language.

Assigned to the Degree Course

Applied Informatics (L-31)
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

The course is aimed to describe a simple computer architecture, with emphasis on pipelining and memory hierarchy, by providing all the elements required to motivate design choices, understand the functioning, evaluate performance, and capture the relationship between architectural design choices and software programming techniques.


01. Introduction:
01.01 Brief history of automated information processing
01.02 From RTL to ALU

02. Computer Systems:
02.01 Von-Neumann Bottleneck and CPU Micro-Architecture.
02.02 Istruction-Set Architecture. 

03. CPU:
03.01 Elementary Pipelining and Performance Metrics.
03.02 Reference Architecture: DLX.
03.03 Pipeline Hazards.
03.04 Lab: Cycle-Accurate Simulazione of DLX Pipeline using WonDLX/WinMIPS.

04. Performance Optimization:
04.01 Static Code Optimization.
04.02 Lab: Example of Simulation-Driven Static Code Optimization.
04.03 Multiple-Issue Processors.
04.04 Dynamic Optimization: OOO Execution and Speculation.
04.05 Lab: Development and Use of Performance Benchmarks.

05. Memory:
05.01 Memory Devices: SRAM and DRAM.
05.02 Non-Volatile Memory Devices: ROM and Flash.
05.03 Memory Hierarchy: Caching and Virtual Memory.

06. Communication:
06.01 BUS and I/O.
06.02 I/O Synchronization: Interrupts and DMA.

Bridging Courses

There are no mandatory prerequisites for this exam, but the course relies of Login Networks.

It is worth noticing that the topics covered by this course will be used in Operating Systems.

Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

Knowledge and understanding

The student will acquire the fundamental knowledge in the field of computer architecture and in its foundations, with particular attention to: synchronous digital systems, microprocessors, memory devices, hardware-software interfaces, synchronization. The student will learn the principle and functioning of the main architectural solutions, with particular emphasis on pipelining, data forwarding, caching, out of order execution and virtual memory. The student will also acquire the basic knowledg to conduct a design space exploration by evaluating design metrics and comparing possible solutions.

Applying knowledge and understanding
The student will be able to translate into an assembly language a small code segment and to conduct static optimizations aimed at reducing the number of stalls in the pipeline.

Making judgements
The student will be able to evaluate and compare alternative architectural solutions that implement a given functional specification, estimating the main design metrics in order to meet requirements and make optimal design choices.

Communication skills
The student will be able to appropriately use the specific terminology of computer architecture together with the terminology of the other topics of the degree program. The student will have the opportunity to experience team work and to present a project.

Learning skills
The student will acquire the ability to fully understand the critical issues of hardware-software systems and to learn the architectural solutions adopted to address them. Such ability will be autonomously exploited to understand and learn the solutions not covered by the course.

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Supporting Activities

Learning notes, handouts, and video tutorials.

Teaching, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


Theory lectures and laboratory exercises, both face-to-face and on-line.


Although recommended, course attendance is not mandatory.

Course books

Lecture notes (in English)

D. A. Patterson and J. L. Hennessy, Computer Organization and Design: the Hardware/Software Interface, 5th edition, Elsevier, 2014.


Individual project, written exam and (optional) oral exam.

The individual project, which has to be submitted at least three days before the oral exam, is passed if the mark (which is valid for all the exam calls of the same Academic Year) is at least 18/30. 

The written exam takes 1 hour. 

The written exam is passed if the mark (which is valid for all the exam calls of the same Academic Year) is at least 18/30. 
The oral exam, which can be taken only if the project and the written exam have been passed, determines a spread between -5/30 and 5/30 of the average of the two previous marks, thus yielding the final mark.
There are no limitations to the number of trials per session per year.
The individual project and the written exam can be taken in any order. 
If a student decides to take the written exam more than ones before taking the oral exam, the mark of the last trial is the one used to compute the final mark.

Additional Information for Non-Attending Students


Students not attending the course can take advantage of the blended learning 


Strongly recommended, but not mandatory.

Course books

As for attending students


As for attending students


The course offers blended learning facilities on the Moodle platform blended.uniurb.it

« back Last update: 20/0720/21


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