Computer Architecture Peer Instruction Materials

Topics Coverage Summary: ISAs, performance evaluation, computer arithmetic, single-cycle processor, multi-cycle processor, pipelining, caches, virtual memory, modern superscalars, and multithreading

Number of Questions/Slides Available: 107

Materials Author: Leo Porter, UC San Diego

Sample Peer Instruction Questions (click to enlarge):

Peer Instruction Materials for Computer Architecture

Textbook Based on:  Computer Organization and Design, Revised Fourth Edition:  The Hardware/Software Interface.  David A. Patterson and John L. Hennessy.

Structure:  Ten-week quarter at University of California, San Diego.

Uses and Adaptations:  Used by 2 other UCSD instructors (beyond the developer, Leo Porter).  Developer also used at Skidmore College for 12-weeks of a semester and used the remaining 3 weeks with paper reading on modern topics.  Non-PI slides originally developed by Dean Tullsen at UCSD.  Used with his permission.

Creative Commons License
Slides for Intro. to Computer Architecture Course Lectures by Dr. Leo Porter, Skidmore College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Non-PI slides originally developed by Dean Tullsen, UCSD.  Used with permission.

Lecture Materials Overview:

  • Lectures are organized into topics which can span one to three 1 hour 20 minute lecture periods.

Lecture Materials with Meta-Data on Clicker Questions:

Topic 1 – ISA

Topic 2 – Performance

Lecture Materials without Meta-Data on Clicker Questions:

Topic 3 – Arithmetic

Topic 4 – SC and SC Control

Topic 5 – Multi Cycle CPU

Topic 6 – MC Exceptions (short)

Topic 7 – Basic Pipelining

Topic 8 – Pipelining – Data Hazards

Topic 9 – Pipelining – Control Hazards

Topic 10 – Pipeline Review

Topic 11 – Caches

Topic 12 – VM

Topic 13 – Advanced Pipelining

Topic 14 – Multithreading