CISY 256 - Computer Architecture and Assembly

Course Syllabus – Fall 2014 – Version 0.1

Section 51x - CRN 14753


  •  Version 0.1 - 8/26/2014 - First Release
  •  Version 0.0 - 8/25/2014 - First Draft


Room: Wednesday 5:30 PM-10:15 PM West Building W311

Computer Organization and Architecture: Designing for Performance, William Stallings, Prentice Hall, Ninth Edition, 2013,
Book ISBNs: ISBN-10: 0-13-293633-X ISBN-13: 978-0-13-293633-0
Picture of Book: CISY 256 Book Cover Computer Architecture
See also: http://williamstallings.com/ComputerOrganization/

Assembly Language for Intel-Based Computers, Kip R. Irvine, Prentice-Hall Inc. (Pearson Education), Seventh Edition, 2015,
Book ISBNs: ISBN-10: 013602212X - ISBN-13: 9780136022121
Picture of Book: CISY 256 Book Cover Assembly Language
See also: http://kipirvine.com/asm/

Instructor: Mr. Stephen T. Brower
Office: West Building W-324
Work # (908) 526-1200 ext. 8259
E- Mail:
E-mail for Labs/Homework/Projects: stbrower@smail.raritanval.edu
Web Site:  http://www.raritanval.edu/faculty/cs/full-time/Brower/brower.html
(Or from school’s web site, hover over Current Students, Pick Academic Departments, then Computer Science, scroll near the bottom, then click Stephen Brower)
Office Hours:

These office hours are open to all students and are FCFS.

Monday 1:00 - 3:00
Tuesday 3:00 - 5:00 (Except 11/25)
Thursday 3:00 - 5:00 (Except 11/27)
and by appointment


Course Overview:

    This course, which is required for Computer Science students, focuses on the components of computer architecture: storage, data types and structure, instruction set and addressing modes. The course examines the way these components are interconnected and the nature of information flow between them. Students will use Assembler language to reinforce these concepts.

Course Routine:

    Most nights will be broken into 4 segments: Architecture Lecture, Assembly Lecture, Lab Lecture, Lab

    Architecture Lecture: This lecture will be on the Computer Architecture material.

    Assembly Lecture: This lecture will be on the Assembly Language material and will include demonstrations in Assembly Language. Students are encouraged to experiment in Assembly

    Lab Lecture: The Instructor will introduce the Lab for the evening. It will vary week to week how long the introduction will take. It could be as short as a few seconds or as long as 15 minutes.

    Lab: This is lab time to work on the Assembly Language Labs and Project. Almost every week there will be an assembly lab. During lab time take as many breaks as you need.

Grade Determinants (What everything is worth...)

    Item Percent
    Homework 15
    Assembly Labs 25
    Assembly Project 10
    Exam 1 (Architecture and Assembly - paper based) 15
    Exam 2 (Assembly - computer based) 15
    Final Exam (Architecture and Assembly - paper based) 20


    Grades % Range
    A 89.5-100
    B+ 86.5-89.4
    B 79.5-86.4
    C+ 76.5-79.4
    C 69.5-76.4
    D 59.5-69.4
    F 0-59.4


    The author of the Assembly book, Kip Irvine, has installation/running notes on his web page: See http://kipirvine.com/asm/ and then click on "Getting Started with MASM and Visual Studio 2012" (or 2010)


    Homework is from the Architecture book.

    Homework will be listed on the Schedule on the instructor’s website.

    Homework can be e-mailed or done on paper or a combination of the two.

    Cheating and Late Policies: Please see below for the Cheating Policy (don't cheat) and the Late Policy (-10 pts per calendar day)

Assembly Labs

    The Assembly Labs will be listed on the Schedule on the instructor’s web site.

    The Assembly Labs correspond to the chapters covered in the Assembly book. They are the "In-Class Labs". The intent is that the labs can be completed in about 2-3 hours. Some labs have multiple parts.

    To submit the lab the *.asm file(s) must be e-mailed AS ATTACHMENTS to the instructor. This way the instructor can run the assembly code.

    Labs are due by the end of class.

    Cheating and Late Policies: Please see below for the Cheating Policy (don't cheat) and the Late Policy (-10 pts per calendar day)

Assembly Project

    The Assembly Project will be listed on the Schedule on the instructor’s web site.

    Unlike the Assembly Labs which can be done in 2-3 hours, the Assembly Project will be a larger more complicated program which will take longer to write.

    Cheating and Late Policies: Please see below for the Cheating Policy (don't cheat) and the Late Policy (-10 pts per calendar day)


    The schedule has the dates/times of the exams.

    Exam 1 will be closed note / closed book / no electronic devices and will be on Architecture and Assembly. The Architecture part will be Short Answer and "Problem" type questions. The Assembly part will have questions that will be either to hand write a few lines of assembly code or some code will be provided and you have to describe the output and/or show the contents of the registers in hexadecimal.

    Exam 2 will be an open note / open book / open computer "hands on" exam in Assembly.

    The Final Exam will be closed note / closed book / no electronic devices. The format will be like Exam 1.

    The Final Exam will be on Wednesday, December 17th - 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Late Policy

    Late Policy - Assignments received after the due date will be considered late and will be penalized 10 points per calendar day. Assignments 7 calendar days late will receive a 0 and the 0 will be used in the calculation of your average. Assignments will not be accepted after being 7 days late without prior accomodations being made. Late Assignments will not be accepted after 12/10.

    Life Happens exception to Late Policy

    "Life Happens" - it is understandable that "life happens" so every student gets 1 "Lab Life Happens" and 1 "Homework Life Happens". When submitting a lab or homework late, all you have to do is ask for the "Life Happens" and the assignment will be considered on time. Each student can only claim a "Life Happens" once for each category (homework/lab) and "Life Happens" are not transferable to other categories or other students.

    "Lab Life Happens" will not be accepted after 12/10.

Cheating Policy

    You must work alone on the Homework, Assembly Project, and Assembly Labs. Cheating is not allowed. All parties involved in cheating will be dealt with according to the school’s policy on cheating. The penalty can range from 0 on the assignment to F for the course.

    For the assembly, asking the instructor for hints is not considered cheating. If the Academic Support Center provides tutoring for Assembly and they "assist" you in the debugging, that is not considered cheating.  

    NOTE: you have permission to use the instructor's demo .asm files, in whole or in part, for your labs and projects

Extra Credit

    Some exams/assignments contain extra credit questions/opportunities. Other than that, no extra credit opportunities will be provided.  


Additional Policies:


Cell Phones

For the "lectures" please silent cell phones. It is understood that there may be times when emergency calls occur or the "pick me up at the airport" call needs to happen. For those calls please step into the hallway to take the call. During lab time, you can turn the sounds back on the cell phones.


For the "lectures" please don't talk. It is understood that you may need to turn to a neighbor for the occasional question like "what slide is he on?" or "which file is that?" or "what page # did he say?" and that's fine. It is the full conversations that are distracting not only to me but to the class as a whole. For the Lab Time you can talk but "indoor voices" please.


The instructor will try his darn-doodliest to not swear during class time but an occasional expletive may slip out. Please try your darn-doodliest not to swear but don't fear reprisals if an occasional expletive slips out.

Proper Use of Computers

Lecture: the instructor is easily distracted by typing and would prefer that computers are not used during the lecture. Pointing and laughing at the monitors is very distracting. If class members repeatedly distract the instructor, then all computers and laptops must be closed down.


Students are expected to attend all classes for every course in which they are enrolled.  To accommodate students’ reasonable, personal situations that might prevent them from attending classes, each student is entitled to excused absences amounting to the equivalent of one week’s class time in a semester. Absences in excess of this standard are handled individually by each faculty member. A student with absences amounting to one-fifth or more of the term’s lecture or laboratory classes is subject to administrative withdrawal by the Dean of Instruction upon the recommendation of the faculty member. 


If the College announces a delayed opening at any location due to inclement weather or other emergency situation, all offices will be closed and all College classes and/or other activities will be suspended at that location until the delayed opening time.

Classes scheduled to begin before the delayed opening time that have 60 minutes or more of instruction time remaining at the delayed opening time will begin at the delayed opening time and conclude at the regularly scheduled ending time. Classes scheduled to begin before the delayed opening time that have fewer than 60 minutes of instruction time remaining at the delayed opening time will be canceled.

Classes scheduled to begin at or after the delayed opening time will meet as scheduled.


Students with disabilities who require accommodations (academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids or services) for this course MUST provide documentation of accommodations from the RVCC office of Disability Services, C143. No accommodations will be made without this documentation. 

Student Handbook

You are responsible for all policies stated in the Student Handbook.
See: http://www.raritanval.edu/studentserv/conduct/Student_Conduct_Landing.html

See school's webpage for Fall 2014 Withdrawal and Refund Schedule and Refund Info

Class Schedule

Please see the Class Schedule for the listing of lecture topics and timing of homework/labs/projects/exams