Project 3 – Research Project

Project Description

This project is the culminating experience for the course. For this project, you have the opportunity to further explore (research and implement) a topic in computer architecture.

Option 1 – Verilog CPU Advanced Feature

After completing the pipelined CPU, your group might choose to implement an advanced feature to add to your CPU. Some ideas could be:
– implement several cache designs (instruction and/or data) and evaluate their performance in your CPU.
– implement a branch predictor (or predictors) and evaluate its performance.
– implement dynamic scheduling (scoreboard or Tomasulo).
– implement superscalar issue.

Option 2 – Computer Architecture Learning Tool

Develop a learning tool for students of computer architecture. Your tool should be useful for an audience of 206 or 320-level students.
Some ideas could be:
– An interactive datapath simulator. Given a specific sequence of instructions, the datapath animates the signals used and shows all data values.
– An online MIPS pipeline diagram or scoreboard or Tomasulo diagram generator.
– An interactive branch prediction tool.
 – An online cache designer (block size, cache size, index bits, etc).

Option 3 – Computer Architecture Research

Teach us a topic broadly in the field of computer architecture from the Morgan & Claypool Synthesis Lectures on Computer Architecture. Choose one of the topics, read and understand the concept. Then prepare a class-long presentation (30-40 minutes) of the material for the rest of the class. Your class must include an interactive activity and quiz (10-20 minutes).


Choose a challenge from InnoCentive that relates to Computer Architecture. Develop a proposed solution and proof of concept solution. Present your solution to the class.

Grading Rubric

20 Points – Project proposal due 11/02/2017. One member of your group should send a brief project proposal to your instructor. The proposal should state the option, 1 – 3, the group selected, the group’s approach to completing the project, and provide a few sentences describing the expected result/outcome.
80 Points total – Due on 11/30/2017. If you have a deliverable, ie options 1 and 2, email your instructor the files before your presentation. Presentations for Options 1 and 2 will be 15 minutes or less. Option 3 presentations will be an entire class period and will be scheduled after Thanksgiving break.
Sophisticated [20-18] Competent [18-15] Basic [15-12] Needs Improvement [<12]
Challenge: How challenging is your topic (to implement in 5 weeks)? Challenging for any senior to beginning grad-level CS/CPE student (estimate >10 hrs/week/person) Challenging, but most good students would be able to complete with 6-10 hrs/week/person. Some thought was required but anyone in the class could do the same with little effort (2-6 hrs/week/person). Not challenging to anyone in the class. (<2 hrs/week/person)
Implementation: Did the group successfully implement the feature they proposed? Yes, and it is genuinely useful. Future students will benefit from this innovation. Significantly better than anything currently available. Yes, it works but has little impact on performance or learning. Mostly working but with some minor problems. Does illustrate the concept but the group seems to have run out of time. Unusable. Major problems prevent the group from demonstrating their solution.
Experimentation: Did you perform interesting experiments/description that demonstrates your mastery of the concept. The presentation / learning tool provides several (>3) useful examples of interesting results derived from the project. Better than reading the textbook / Wikipedia / etc. A few (2-3) moderately interesting results were presented, slightly better than existing resources. A few (2-3) results were presented but didn’t explain/illustrate the idea any better than existing sources. 1 or fewer results.
Presentation and packaging: Your presentation should clearly explain your project, how you implemented it, tested, and what you learned from the experience. The presentation was clear and the project is fully documented and packaged so that new students could pick it up and use it. The presentation was clear and the project could be used/extended in the future with some effort. The presentation wasn’t fully clear and/or it would be difficult to continue the work later. The presentation was unclear/disorganized and the project needs to be significantly rewritten to be useful.
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