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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Informatics : Informatics

Postgraduate Course: Parallel Architectures (Level 11) (INFR11024)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Informatics CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe aims of this course are threefold: (a) to investigate the various forms of parallelism found in uniprocessors and in multiprocessor and multicomputer systems; (b) to explore the issues which arise in these systems in terms of: (i) ensuring that programs are executed correctly by the hardware; (ii) maximising performance (c) to undertake an in-depth investigation of a specific area of current research in parallel architecture.
Course description * Introduction
Parallelism and Performance
Parallelism in Software

* Uniprocessor Parallelism
Vector & SIMD Instructions
Superscalar and VLIW processors

* Interconnection networks
Routing Functions
Static Networks
Dynamic Networks
Combining Networks

* Multiprocessor & Multicomputer Systems
Shared Memory Systems
Directory-based Coherence Protocols
Memory Consistency
NUMA Systems
Message Passing Systems

*Performance & Scalability
Performance metrics

Relevant QAA Computing Curriculum Sections: Architecture, Simulation and Modelling
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Informatics 2C - Introduction to Computer Systems (INFR08018) OR Informatics 2C - Introduction to Computer Systems (INFR08027)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course is open to all Informatics students including those on joint degrees. For external students where this course is not listed in your DPT, please seek special permission from the course organiser.

Basic level of programming is assumed and not covered in lectures. The assessed assignment will involve signification programming.

It is recommended that students have a basic understanding of processor design and cache/memory hierarchies. The relevant material is available as part of the INF2C-CS course under (a) Processor design: single cycle and multicycle and (b) Memory hierarchy and caches.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The coursework component of the assessment will consist of:
- Critical reviews of research papers
- One practical assignment that will involve substantial programming
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Parallel Architectures2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Describe the various forms of parallelism found in modern computer systems and the techniques used (a) to ensure that programs are executed correctly by parallel hardware (b) to maximise performance.
  2. Assess the effectiveness of techniques used to enhance the performance of computer systems.
  3. Record observations of on-line experiments, present this information in a variety of formats and draw conclusions from it.
  4. Investigate, explain and comment critically on a specific area of current parallel computer architecture research.
Reading List
* D.E. Culler & J.P. Singh, Parallel Computer Architecture, Morgan Kaufmann, 1999.
* J.L. Hennessey & D.A. Patterson, Computer Architecture: a Quantitative Approach, 4th Edition, Morgan Kaufmann, 2006.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Vijayanand Nagarajan
Tel: (0131 6)51 3440
Course secretaryMiss Clara Fraser
Tel: (0131 6)51 4164
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