Computer Systems and Architecture 

On this page you will find information about the course "Computersystemen en -architectuur" (1001WETCAR) for the first semester of the 2017-2018 academic year at the University of Antwerp.

This page is written in English for the benefit of foreign Erasmus students. Note that the course is taught in Dutch however!

This course consists of two interwoven parts:
Computer Systems
Computer Architecture

For which parts of the book correspond to the lectures, have a look at the overview of what to study for the exam.

First Session

Your total score for this course is calculated as follows:

  • During the semester: permanent evaluation counts for 55% of the course grade. Assignments and Projects are handed in via Blackboard. Projects are evaluated during an oral defense.
  • Examination period: the Theory exam counts for 25% of the course grade.
    The course material covered by the theory exam is described in this overview of what to study for the exam.
  • Examination period: the practical exam together with its oral defense counts for 20% of the course grade.
    • Examination period: Practical exam (in computer lab: preparation of the design of a datapath as well as translating a high-level program to that architecture)
    • Examination period: Defense of practical exam with questions to test Computer Systems background
  • To pass the course, you need to attend or submit every part that will be graded (if not, your grade will be "AFW" - absent). Additionally, you need to get an overall score of at least 50%, and a score of at least 40% on the theory exam, and a score of at least 40% on the practical exam, and a score of at least 40% on the year projects (architecture and systems combined). If not, your grade will be min(7, your_score). your_score is the score you would get when applying the weights given above.
Second Session
  • The weights of the different parts of the course remain the same as during the January session:
    • 25% theory-exam
    • 20% practical-exam
    • 40% project computer architecture during the year ("permanent evaluation")
    • 15% exercises computer systems during the year ("permanent evaluation")
    Each of these parts may have to be re-done during the Second Session.
    You do not have to (but may) re-do those parts for which you got a score of at least 50% (i.e., "partiële vrijstelling"). You should explicitly ask for this exemption via e-mail and you will be notified via e-mail whether this request was granted.
  • For the "during the year" parts, you will need to individually finish and submit (and defend) the "Computer Systems" assignments and a "Computer Architecture" project. These will be slight modifications of the original ones (see below). Deadline for these assignments is TBA (To Be Announced). Submission is done via Blackboard.
  • The structure of the examination remains the same. All defenses take place during the examination period.
  • The examination method and the material to study for the Second Session are identical to that of the First Session. There will again be a written theory exam about both CS and CA, as well as a practical exam with oral defense on Computer Architecture. The course material covered by the theory exam is described in this overview of what to study for the exam.

All lectures (in PDF format) can be found online (on Blackboard, not updated frequently) and at the URL announced in class (updated frequently). Before each class, the slides are last year's. By the next lecture, the slides are updated to reflect this year's changes.

Blackboard scribbles [pdf].

Lab Sessions

In each lab session, you will be given some assignments (Computer Systems) and/or a project (Computer Architecture). All assignments are made individually, projects are solved in groups of two students.

Assignments (CS)

After each lab session, a new "assignment" is enabled on Blackboard, with a strict deadline. You submit your solution of the assignments before the deadline (typically one week after the lab session). You submission must have these characteristics:

  • Fill in all solutions to the assignments in the file oefeningen.html. Each solution consists of text, screenshots and/or hyperlinks to files (i.e. scripts, MIPS-files, ...).
  • Put all your files in a tgz archive. The name of that archive consists of your last and first name, without spaces. If, for example, your name is Jan De Smedt, the file name of your archive must be DeSmedtJan.tgz.

The assignments can be found here.

Projects (CA)

In each lab session, you will work on a project in pairs of two students. Projects build on each other, to converge into a unified whole at the end of the semester. During the semester, you will be evaluated three times. At these evaluation moments, you will present your solution of the past projects by giving a demo and answering some questions. You will immediately receive feedback, which you can use to improve your solution for the following evaluations.

For every project, you submit a small report of the project you made by filling in verslag.html completely. A report typically consists of a summary of everything you implemented and an explanation of the choices you made ​​in the implementation. Again, put all your files in a tgz archive. The name of that archive consists of your last and first name, without spaces. If, for example, your name is Jan De Smedt, the file name of your archive must be DeSmedtJan.tgz.

The projects can be found here.


The HTML forms you will need for the solutions (right click, save as):

You have to adapt the HTML-code manually (i.e., in notepad) to fill in the forms. A good HTML tutorial can help you with this. Remark: in the forms, the <u> element for underlining is redefined to "overline". This way, you can express NOT in Boolean algebraic expressions: e.g., NOT A OR B becomes A+B. Unfortunately, double overline is not possible. Of course, you can always use the NOT A OR B notation.


Throughout the course we will use the following tools:

Both tools require java to run. The tools are installed on the lab computers.

If you would like to run a UNIX distribution on your own computer, we suggest Ubuntu. You can install Ubuntu next to your Windows using the Windows installer. After installation, you will be able to choose on startup between Windows and Ubuntu. If you would like to run Ubuntu inside your Windows, you can install Ubuntu on VirtualBox by following these steps.

In order to copy files in Windows from and to servers (e.g., between your laptop and the server) you can use WinSCP. You can simply use the scp command ("secure copy") if you are using UNIX.

You can only access the server from a university network or through a vpn connection (to access this page, open it after you are logged in to Blackboard).

Blackboard caveats

The burden of timely submission of your work on Blackboard is on you! (late submissions are not accepted)

  • Beware that Blackboard's clock may differ slightly from that on your computer. Allow a margin for submission.
  • Be sure to check that your submission was actually made. Check for example under Grade Centre whether your (as yet unmarked) submission shows up.







Computer Systems

Computer Architecture

1Tuesday 26 September 201710:45 - 12:45TheoryM.A.143Course Introduction, practical info
1Friday 29 September 201708:30 - 12:45Lab sessionM.G.025 (Group A)
M.G.026 (Group B)
Introduction to UNIX
2Tuesday 3 October 201710:45 - 12:45TheoryM.A.143Computer AbstractionsFrom Analog to Digital
2Friday 6 October 201708:30 - 12:45Lab sessionM.G.025 (Group A)
M.G.026 (Group B)
Regular expressions and sedGates and Wires
2Friday 6 October 201716:00 - 18:00TheoryM.A.143Computer Abstractions: PerformanceLogic Design, Logic Gates
3Tuesday 10 October 201710:45 - 12:45TheoryM.A.143Computer Abstractions: PerformanceALU, Adders
3Friday 13 October 201708:30 - 12:45Lab sessionM.G.025 (Group A)
M.G.026 (Group B)
UNIX ScriptingAdders
3Friday 13 October 201716:00 - 18:00Theory (YVT)M.A.143Data Representation ((un)signed Integers)
4Tuesday 17 October 201710:45 - 12:45Theory (YVT)M.A.143Data Representation (Fixed Point, (IEEE-754) Floating Point)
4Friday 20 October 201708:30 - 12:45Lab sessionM.G.025viALU
4Friday 20 October 201716:00 - 18:00TheoryM.A.143Data Representation (ASCII/EBCDIC, Unicode character representations)
5Friday 27 October 201708:30 - 12:45Lab sessionM.G.025 (Group A)
M.G.026 (Group B)
Data RepresentationContinue work on ALU
5Friday 27 October 201716:00 - 18:00Theory (YVT)M.A.143Logic Gates: memory
6Tuesday 31 October 201710:45 - 12:45TheoryM.A.143Assembler
6Tuesday 31 October 201713:45 - 15:45TheoryM.A.143Assembler
6Friday 3 November 201710:45 - 12:45No class
6Friday 3 November 201716:00 - 18:00No class
6Sunday 5 November 201723:55Project deadlineBlackboardProject 1-3
7Monday 6 November 201716:00 - 18:00TheoryM.A.143Finite State Machines
7Tuesday 7 November 201710:45 - 12:45TheoryM.A.143Simple Datapath
7Tuesday 7 November 201713:45 - 15:45TheoryM.A.143many ISAs and their Datapath (blackboard scribbles)
7Friday 10 November 201708:30 - 12:45Lab sessionM.G.025Data RepresentationMemory
7Friday 10 November 201711:00 - 18:00Evaluation and feedbackM.G.026Evaluation Gates and Wires + Adders + ALU
8Monday 13 November 201716:00 - 18:00TheoryM.A.143Simple Datapath (full)
8Tuesday 14 November 201710:45 - 12:45TheoryM.A.143Leaf functions
8Tuesday 14 November 201713:45 - 15:45TheoryM.A.143Leaf functions (and MARS)
8Friday 17 November 201708:30 - 12:45Lab sessionM.G.025MIPS: IntroductionDatapath
9Monday 20 November 201716:00 - 18:00TheoryM.A.143Argument passing by value/reference
Memory layout
Non-leaf functions
9Tuesday 21 November 201710:45 - 12:45No class
9Tuesday 21 November 201713:45 - 15:45No class
9Friday 24 November 201708:30 - 12:45Lab sessionM.G.025MIPS: Building your Projects' Building BlocksContinue work on Datapath
9Friday 24 November 201716:00 - 18:00TheoryM.A.143Frames/Activation Records
10Monday 27 November 201716:00 - 18:00TheoryM.A.143Representing matrices
10Tuesday 28 November 201710:45 - 12:45TheoryM.A.143Linking and loading: static
10Tuesday 28 November 201713:45 - 15:45TheoryM.A.143Linking and loading: dynamic
10Wednesday 29 November 201723:55Project deadlineBlackboardProject 4-5
10Friday 01 December 201708:30 - 18:00Evaluation and feedbackM.G.025Evaluation Memory + Datapath
11Tuesday 05 December 201710:45 - 12:45No class
11Tuesday 05 December 201713:45 - 15:45No class
11Friday 08 December 201708:30 - 12:45Lab sessionM.G.025MIPS: Putting your Project togetherFull Datapath
12Tuesday 12 December 201710:45 - 12:45TheoryM.A.143other architectures (than MIPS)
12Tuesday 12 December 201713:45 - 15:45TheoryG.U.025Computer Arithmetic (assembler)Computer Arithmetic (circuits)
12Friday 15 December 201708:30 - 12:45Lab sessionM.G.025MIPS: Extending your ProjectDatapath in Use
13Tuesday 19 December 201710:45 - 12:45TheoryM.A.143Datapath with pipelining
13Tuesday 19 December 201713:45 - 15:45TheoryM.A.143ExceptionsCourse overview + exam questions
13Wednesday 20 December 201723:55Project deadlineBlackboardProject 6-7
13Friday 22 December 201708:30 - 12:45Evaluation and feedbackM.G.025Evaluation Full Datapath + Datapath in Use

Computer Systems
Program of the lab sessions

Exercises 1: Introduction to Unix

Introduction session on Unix commands. The use of Unix Shell Commands is explained.


Exercises 2: Regular Expressions and Sed

Introduction and assignments on regular expressions and sed.


Exercises 3: UNIX Scripting

Introduction to and assignments on UNIX Scripting.


Intermezzo: vi


Exercises 4: Data Representation

Assignments on data representation


Exercises 6: MIPS: Introduction

Introduction of MIPS and the use of MARS


Exercises 7: MIPS: Building your Projects' Building Blocks

Assignments on MIPS


Exercises 8: MIPS: Putting your Project together

Assignments on MIPS Stacks and subroutines


Exercises 9: MIPS: Extending your Project

Assignments on MIPS Recursion


Second Session

The following exercises must be completed:

Indien je een onvoldoende had op je oefeningen tijdens het jaar wordt er verwacht dat je beide onderdelen opnieuw instuurt.

Computer Architecture
Program of the lab sessions

Project 1: Gates and Wires

Introduction to Logisim and the use of gates.


Project 2: Adders

Build an 12-bit adder (ripple carry adder and carry lookahead adder).


Project 3: ALU

Build a 12-bit ALU.


Project 4: Memory

Build a register file, counter, clock divider and finite State Machine for a traffic light.


Project 5: Datapath

Build a program counter and a datapath.


Project 6: Full Datapath

Add branch, jump and immediate instructions to the instruction set.


Project 7: Datapath in Use

Write programs to run on your datapath.


Second Session

This is a variation on the projects of the first session. The goal is to individually solve a variation of all projects, with the differences explained in the following assignment:

Maintained by Hans Vangheluwe. Last Modified: 2018/09/20 11:36:41.