CS 211 Computer Architecture (2024 Spring)

This course covers the fundamental issues in the design of modern computer systems, including the design and implementation of key hardware components such as the processor, memory, and I/O devices, and the software/hardware interface.

Basic information

When and where to find the class

Lectures: Lectures: Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:00 PM – 3:20 PM Eastern Time. SEC-111. Lecture recordings will be posted online within one day.

Recitations: Recitations will not be recorded. You are strongly recommended to attend recitations prepared with questions about assignments and lectures and make use of the help from TAs.

  • Section 05: Tuesdays 7:45 PM – 8:40 PM ARC-105
  • Section 06: Tuesdays 5:55 PM – 6:50 PM ARC-105
  • Section 07: Thursdays 7:45 PM – 8:40 PM SEC-207
  • Section 08: Thursdays 4:05 PM – 5:00 PM SEC-207

The meeting locations and links for each recitation TA is on the class LMS on Canvas.

Office hours: Prof. Yipeng Huang’s office hours TBD CoRE 317.

The TAs have additional office hours; time and meetings links for each TA is on the class LMS on Canvas.

Learning goals

Throughout the course, students will learn about low-level programming, digital logic, and the memory hierarchy via case studies that are representative of real-world computer systems.

Students will apply essential knowledge about computer systems to modify and create new low-level software and hardware implementations via hands-on programming exercises.

At the end of this course, students should have the preliminary skills to design and evaluate solutions involving the computer software-hardware interface to address new problems.


  • C programming
  • Data representation and computer arithmetic
  • Boolean algebra
  • Assembly language programming
  • Main memory design
  • Cache design
  • Basic digital logic design
  • Processor design

Expected work and grading policy

  • 7 programming assignments (first two assignments are smaller in size); totalling 70% of the course grade.
  • Short timed quizzes; totalling 5% of the course grade.
  • Midterm exam; totalling 10% of the course grade.
  • Cumulative final exam; totalling 15% of the course grade.
  • Class and recitation participation
  • Discussion via Piazza

The course letter grade will be assigned according to this scale. A: 100%–90%. B+: 89.9%–87%. B: 86.9%–80%. C+: 79.9%–77%. C: 76.9%–70%. D: 69.9%–60%.


DateTopic / learning goalsReading assignmentProgramming assignment (PA)
Tuesday, January 16Computer architecture [slides]CS:APP Chapter 1.
Modern C Chapters 1–8.
PA 0 (C control flow, file I/O) released.
Thursday, January 18Accessing ilab, writing, compiling, and running your first C program [slides]
Tuesday, January 23C programming: I/O, pointers [slides]Modern C Chapters 9-14.
Thursday, January 25C programming: Pointers, arrays, memory [slides]PA 0 due.
PA 1 (C arrays, data structures) released.
Tuesday, January 30C Programming: Arrays, functions [slides]
Thursday, February 1C Programming: 2D arrays, pass-by-value vs. pass-by-reference [slides]
Tuesday, February 6C Programming: Functions, pass-by-reference, returns [slides]
Thursday, February 8C Programming: Bugs and debugging [slides]CS:APP Chapter 2.PA 1 due.
PA 2 (C algorithm pattern implementation) released.
Tuesday, February 13C Programming: Graphs
Representing and manipulating information: Bits, bytes, integers [slides]
Thursday, February 15Representing and Manipulating Information: Bits, Ints, and Ops [slides]
Tuesday, February 20Representing and Manipulating Information: Integer operations and fixed point [slides]
Thursday, February 22Representing and Manipulating Information: Fixed point and floating point [slides]PA 2 due.
PA 3 (data representations) released.
Tuesday, February 27Representing and Manipulating Information: Floating point normalized numbers [slides]CS:APP Chapter 3.
Thursday, February 29Representing and Manipulating Information: Floating point denormalized numbers and mastery [slides]
Tuesday, March 5
Machine-Level Representation of Programs: Instruction set architectures [slides]
Thursday, March 7Machine-Level Representation of Programs: Bomblab, addressing modes, arithmetic [slides]PA 3 due.
PA 4 (assembly bomb lab) released.
Saturday, March 9Spring Recess Begins
Sunday, March 17Spring Recess Ends
Tuesday, March 19Class period midterm exam
Thursday, March 21Machine-Level Representation of Programs: Addressing modes [slides]
Tuesday, March 26Machine-Level Representation of Programs: Control Flow, Loops [slides]
Thursday, March 28Machine-Level Representation of Programs: Procedures, Recursion, Data [slides]
Tuesday, April 2Machine-Level Representation of Programs: Procedures, Recursion, Data [slides]CS:APP Chapter 6.PA 4 due.
PA 5 (cache performance lab) released.
Thursday, April 4The memory hierarchy: Cache memories [slides]
Tuesday, April 9The memory hierarchy: Cache placement, replacement, and write policies [slides]
Thursday, April 11The memory hierarchy: Cache placement, replacement, and write policies [slides]
Tuesday, April 16The memory hierarchy: Cache friendly code [slides]PA 5 due.
PA 6 (digital logic) released.
Thursday, April 18The basics of logic design: Combinational logic [slides]
Tuesday, April 23The basics of logic design: Sequential logic [slides]
Thursday, April 25Computer architecture [slides]
Monday, April 29Regular Classes End
Tuesday, April 30Reading Day
Wednesday, May 1Reading DayPA 6 due.
Tuesday, May 7Final Exam Schedule designated exam time 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Wednesday, May 8Spring Exams End


Technology Requirements: Students will need access to the Canvas site, and be able to join class via audio, at minimum.

Please visit the Rutgers Student Tech Guide page for resources available to all students.  If you do not have the appropriate technology for financial reasons, please email Dean of Students deanofstudents@echo.rutgers.edu for assistance.  If you are facing other financial hardships, please visit the Office of Financial Aid at https://financialaid.rutgers.edu/.

Academic Integrity: https://www.cs.rutgers.edu/academics/undergraduate/academic-integrity-policy