CS 6501: Special Topics in Computer Architecture: Heterogeneous and Scalable Computing

Instructor: Kevin Skadron
Class meetings: T/Th 11-12:15, OLS 228E
Office hours: M/F 9-11

Prerequisite: undergraduate-level computer architecture
This course will count toward breadth under the "Computer Systems" area for CS students and under Area I, "Hardware" for CPE students.

This year's computer architecture special topics course will explore how physical constraints--specifically power, thermal, and bandwidth limits--are changing processor design, and how heterogeneous multiprocessor organizations can address these limits. Heterogeneity may include mixtures of CPUs, GPUs, DSPs, FPGAs, and other specialized processors, as well as heterogeneous combinations of memory elements. Already GPUs are becoming mainstream, and even integrated on the same chip as the CPU. We will survey some of these processors, driving workloads, and then consider how heterogeneous architectures affect software. Finally, we will study how to optimize the architecture of a heterogeneous processor subject to physical consraints.

The course will primarily consist of lectures and student-led discussions. Assignments will include paper and processor presentations; some brief pencil-and-paper exercises; programming assignments; and a small research project.

Brief Outline

Some topics may span multiple days Final projects will be selected later in the semester, with the goal of exploring one of the above topic areas in greater depth. It is hoped that most projects can serve as the foundation for a subsequent publication.

Detailed Schedule


Last updated: 30 Nov. 2011