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Course Information
ECE 5750/CS 5420 - Advanced Computer Architecture
Fall '19

In compliance with Cornell University's policy and equal access laws, the instructor is available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations that may be required for students with disabilities. Requests for academic accommodations are to be made during the first three weeks of the semester, except for unusual circumstances, so arrangements can be made. Students are encouraged to register with Student Disability Services to verify their eligibility for appropriate accommodations.

Getting Answers

I can be reached by email; but I much prefer you use Piazza, especially if your question might benefit others (but see Academic Integrity Code below). If you do email me, please make sure your subject begins with [ECE 5750], or your message may end up in an email blackhole.

The course's web site is It contains a schedule with bibliographic references, which are required reading, and other resources. Announcements are made and archived on Piazza.



There will be a prelim exam in class on Monday, October 22. There will be a final exam, time and location indicated in Cornell's official final exam schedule. Exams are open notes, open book, however they are designed specifically to penalize students who hope to rely on on-the-spot browsing of the material.

If you cannot attend either exam because of observance of a religious holiday, arrangements can be made as long as you notify me by Cornell's official deadline.

Parallel Programming Assignments

There will be a number of programming assignments. These will be announced in class. You will work with a partner. Solutions must be submitted by 5pm EST on the due date, which always falls on a Friday; see Late Policy below. They must be submitted electronically in Word, Pages, or PDF format.

Position Papers

Each student will submit a number of position papers, each based on a literature research assignment posted by the instructor. It should include a comprehensive literature survey, an analysis of strength and weaknesses of current approaches, and an assessment of future challenges and opportunities.

Peer Reviewing

All assignments will be peer-reviewed: Students will review their own peers in a double-blind fashion (authors don't know who their reviewers are and vice versa), as assigned by the instructor using HotCRP, a web-based peer review service widely used in systems conferences. Students will be graded on the quality of their work as well as the quality of their reviews of other people's work.

Grade Weights

Final exam 25%
Position papers 20%
Programming assignments 20%
Midterm exam 15%
Peer reviewing effort 10%
In-class participation 10%

Regrade Requests

All regrade requests must be submitted by email. The request must state exactly what should be regraded and why. The regrade request has to be received within one week from when the grade in question has been posted.

Extra Credit

I may boost your grade by up to 1/3 letter, e.g., from B+ to A-, at my discretion if I believe your contribution in the course has been remarkable in some (positive) way, e.g. very active in-class participation, or an unusually strong position paper. You will be given the opportunity in the final exam to remind me of what (you believe) makes you qualify for this. Note that you can achieve the maximum grade without resorting to this aid. There is no other way of getting extra credit; in particular, there will be no extra work to boost your grade after the end of the semester.

Late Policy


No submissions will be accepted and no extensions will be granted (but see lifeline provision for projects below). In particular, a high workload, other projects with similar due dates, and exams in other classes are not acceptable reasons for an extension. The only exception to this general rule is a family or medical emergency (proof required). Planning for an early submission is your best safeguard.

Lifeline provision

As an exception to the rule, and because "stuff happens," each student has one lifeline that may be used to secure a 24h extension (that's 1,440 minutes) on a homework or project submission. In the case of a group submission, no party must have used her/his lifeline previously, and all parties' lifelines will be used up. It may be wise to find out whether your partner(s) has (have) a lifeline well before a project deadline.

Academic Integrity

This section is particularly important; please read carefully.

The term "group" in this section refers to yourself if you work alone or to you and your partner in case of a group (team of two) project.

The work your group submits is expected to be the result of your group's effort only. The use of a computer in no way modifies the standards of academic integrity expected under the Cornell University Code of Academic Integrity.

You are encouraged to study together and to discuss information and concepts covered in lecture with other students. You can give "consulting" help to or receive "consulting" help from such students. However, this cooperation should never involve one group having possession of a copy of all or part of the work done by some other group, including work from previous years.

Should copying occur, both the student(s) who copied work from another student and the student(s) who gave material to be copied will automatically receive a zero on the work, and an extra penalty will be assessed, ranging anywhere from a deduction on the final grade to failure of the course and university disciplinary action. Please notice that this implies that at no time are you allowed to grant anyone but your group partner access to your computer files. Be sure to master the use of chmod and umask before starting to work on your projects.

During exams, you must do your own work. Communication among students is not permitted during the exams, nor may you compare or borrow notes, copy from others, or collaborate in any way.

You are strongly encouraged to read Cornell University's Code of Academic Integrity, available at