Computer Systems Architecture
(Same as Electrical and Computer Engineering M116C.) Lecture, four hours; discussion, two hours; outside study, six hours. Enforced requisites: courses 33, and M51A or Electrical and Computer Engineering M16. Recommended: courses 111, and M152A or Electrical and Computer Engineering M116L. Computer system organization and design, implementation of CPU datapath and control, instruction set design, memory hierarchy (caches, main memory, virtual memory) organization and management, input/output subsystems (bus structures, interrupts, DMA), performance evaluation, pipelined processors. Letter grading.
10.0 / 10
8.3 / 10
10.0 / 10
Reinman is an amazing professor and I'd definitely recommend taking this class with him. The flipped classroom style does require a bit more work on the students' end (have to watch pre-lecture videos), but I feel it really does work to learn the material better. In addition, having the basic material taught through the videos allowed Reinman to answer more questions and cover more examples during lecture. It also helped a lot for me as someone who struggled to wake up for the 8ams and often missed lecture.
The final for my quarter was made optional due to COVID-19, so I did not take it. Most people did very well on the midterm (average around 95), and I heard the final was substantially more difficult. In addition, the material covered in the latter half of the quarter is more challenging, so definitely make sure you don't fall behind after the midterm. In addition, both exams are open-note and open-book, and you're allowed to use a calculator.
The amount of time required from the homework varies week to week, but I didn't think the assigned homework was ever excessive. We had a total of 7 assignments (due Friday weeks 2-9). The homework is also graded based on participation, so as long as you put in a reasonable amount of effort you should be fine. I thought the homework was useful for the exam.
Overall, a great class that I highly recommend you take with Reinman.
Overall not a bad class, decently interesting but you need to put in a decent effort to get a decent grade. I would take this class again with Reinman.
Not a great experience. Would recommend the other M151B professors over Reinman.
Reinman lectures in a flipped-classroom style, which makes the class feel like more work than many other classes, but I think it does help learn the material better. Most time outside of class is spent on watching the prerecorded lectures. The homework is relatively easy, about one per week and graded only on completion. I read some of the textbook readings, but they aren't that important for the midterm and final. Reinman emphasizes what you need to know for the tests during the live lectures (so don't skip them!)
The midterm and final together make up the majority of your class grade (90%). I felt that Reinman's tests were fair; certainly not as difficult as 111 with Reiher or 131 with Eggert, but they did require studying for (especially if you aren't interested in computer systems architecture). If you don't do very well on tests, Reinman is definitely not the professor you want to take for M151B.
Ultimately, a lot of your experience will be determined by how much interest you have in computer systems architecture. If you liked the content of CS 33 (virtual memory, parallelism, ISAs), and a little bit of M51A (logic gates), then M151B is basically like a second quarter that goes more in-depth. If you hate the material, you probably won't have a good time, but if you like it (or can tolerate it), then Reinman is a good professor to take it with.
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No group projects
Attendance not required
Finals week final
50% recommend the textbook
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