ECE 706 Advanced Parallel Computer Architecture

Advanced topics in parallel computer architecture. Hardware mechanisms for scalable cache coherence, synchronization, and speculation. Scalable systems and interconnection networks. Design or research project required. 3 credit hours.


• Prerequisite

ECE/CSC 506 Architectures of Parallel Computers, ECE 521 Computer Design and Technology

ECE 521 is strongly preferred, but may be waived -- contact the instructor for more information.  ECE 506 (or equivalent) is strictly required, and cannot be taken as a co-requisite.

• Course Objectives

Students who complete this course will be able to discuss and evaluate advanced topics and recent developments in the area of high-performance multiprocessor architectures.  They will also be able to model different architectural approaches using state-of-the-art simulation techniques.  Specific topics to be covered include: cache coherence optimizations, synchronization mechanisms, on-chip interconnection networks, and systems issues.

• Course Requirements

The course grade will be based on the following components:

  • Exams (30%) -- two exams, equally weighted
  • Paper summaries, in-class quizzes, etc. (10%)
  • Projects (60%) -- multiple projects, weighting to be determined

Your final score is determined by computing the weighted average of the components above.

97 to 100: A+
92 to 97: A
87 to 92: A-/B+
82 to 87: B
77 to 82: B-/C+

  70 to 77: C
67 to 70: C-
60 to 67: D+
below 60: F
The assigned grade in a borderline area (e.g., A-/B+) is at the instructor's discretion and will depend on overall class participation, improvement (or decline) in exam scores, and quality of the final project.  I reserve the right to shift the numerical cutoff points down (but never up), based on overall class performance, problems with a particular assignment, etc.  This adjustment rarely happens, especially in a graduate-level course.

Note: I do not curve grades in this course.  It is possible for everyone in the class to get an A (or an F).  Your performance depends only on how you do, not on how everyone else in the class does.  So it is not harmful to your grade to help your fellow students in any legal manner.

• Textbook

There is no required text for the course.  All materials will come from research papers and online resources.  Electronic copies of all required reading will be provided.

• Computer and Internet Requirements

NCSU and Engineering Online have recommended minimum specifications for computers. For details, click here.

Students must have access to EOS computers. NCSU provides a remote access service that allows students to reserve a computer with a desired set of applications, and remotely access it over the Internet. This service NCSU's Virtual Computing Lab is powered by the Apache Software Foundation's Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) software.

• Instructor
  Dr. Gregory Byrd, Professor, Associate Head
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Engineering Building II (EB2) 3108, Box 7911
NCSU Campus
Raleigh, NC 27695

Phone: 919-513-2508
Fax: 919-513-7075
Web Site: