CSE 378: Machine Organization & Assembly Language

Winter 1999



Where and When

Lectures:Low 113 MWF 9:30-10:20
Section AA:MEB 242 Th 12:30-1:20
Section AB:Low 112 Th 1:30-2:20


Jean-Loup Baer
baer@cs.washington.edu, 206-685-1376
211 Sieg Hall
office hours: Mondays 1:30-2:30, Fridays 2:30-3:30, or by appointment


Doug Zongker
226a Sieg Hall
office hours: Tuesdays & Wednesdays 1:30-2:30, or by appointment

Course Goals

From the programmer's point of view, ``the hardware'' is given by its architectural specification. We will look at the general topic of computer architecture, using the MIPS R2000 as a specific example, and its most obvious exposure to the programmer, assembly language programming.

Note that assembly language is almost never used to write large complete programs anymore. However, it is still used to write some machine specific code, like device drivers or in some DSP/embedded processors. Moreover, your C++ code is turned into an assembler program by the compiler. Once you've seen assembly code, many mysteries about programming will suddenly become clear.


D. Patterson and J. Hennessy, Computer Organization & Design: The Hardware/Software Interface, 2nd Edition, 1998.


There will be assembly language programming assignments or problem sets from the book every week (well almost every week). You can discuss the assignments with each other but you should do the actual work by yourselves.

Please hand in your assignments on the due date in class. Late assignments will not be accepted.


Homework 40%; midterm 20%; final 40%. These percentages are approximate. Intangibles may arise. Class participation is a bonus. (Class participation is strongly encouraged. Don't be afraid to ask questions: dumb questions do not exist. If I ask you a question and you don't know, just say so. That's no problem. I will certainly answer some of your questions also by "I don't know!".)

e-mail and WWW

We will have a class mailing list and we will communicate often through e-mail. Feel free to send Doug or me questions. We will forward questions and answers to the whole class if appropriate. We'll be using the WWW (World Wide Web) as well. Check the CSE378 home page.