Course Review for Final Exam
CS 441 Lecture, Dr. Lawlor
The final exam will be held Tuesday, December 18 at *8am*. It's
scheduled for two hours, but I'm planning on making it about the same
length as the midterm--a few dozen questions.
Here's everything you should know for the final:
The lecture notes are a good place to start for this, but you're responsible for stuff said in lecture too!
- Digital and analog circuits. What they look like. How they work. When one is better than the other.
- Analog circuit simulation via SPICE. Resistors,
transistors, voltage sources. Current and voltage in circuits
(V=IR, I=V/R). Simple resistor-resistor, resistor-transistor
voltage divider circuits.
- Digital circuit simulation via VHDL. Concurrent
execution. Component instantiation. Sequential "process"
blocks and "wait" semantics. VHDL synthesis.
- Assembly language/instruction set design: opcode fields, register bits.
- RISC: MIPS, PowerPC
- CISC: x86
- Stack-based: x86 floating-point, Java Virtual Machine
- CPU design: fetch, decode, execute (and the circuitry that implements this!)
- Pipelining: why and how, performance analysis
- Dependencies: RAW, WAR, WAW, and pipeline "stalls"
- Superscalar execution
- CPU cache: tags, direct-mapping, associativity, writeback policy. Code transformations to improve cache utilization.
- Floating-point numbers. Sign, exponent, mantissa. Roundoff. Denormal numbers, and how to repair them.
- x86 floating-point instructions and stack-based machines.
- SSE instructions, SSE intrinsics. SSE performance profile.
- User-level threads, pthread mechanics (thread creation/deletion, locks).
- "race" conditions, and how to fix them.
- Intel Threading Building Blocks and the hard problem of load balancing.
- MPI basic execution environment (many "main" programs), basic send/recv communication.
- Parallel communication cost model (alpha + beta * N)
- High per-message cost, and how to live with this
- Theoretical models for computation cost / communication
cost, speedup (serial time / parallel time)
- Load imbalance: how to measure, how to fix
- OpenMP basic execution environment.
- Choosing between pthreads, OpenMP, MPI.