Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering George Mason University Volgenau School of Engineering

General Information


Introduces microprocessor software and hardware architecture. Includes fundamentals of microprocessor system integration, instruction set design, programming, memory interfacing, input/output, direct memory access, interrupt interfacing, and microprocessor architecture evolution. Studies Intel family of microprocessors, and reviews other microprocessor families and design trends.

The Viewgraphs of the lectures and Homework Assignments are available on My Mason for students registered for this class. Homeworks are due on the due date on paper at the beginning to class. Only if you can't make it to class, please e-mail the homework by the due date to the instructor.

Meeting Time

Lectures Tuesday 4:30 pm -7:10 pm in Planetary Hall 120


  • Syllabus: (pdf)


Dr. Jens-Peter Kaps
Office: Engineering Building, Room 3222
Email: jkaps'at'

Office Hours

  • Tuesday 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm
  • Thursday 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Additional office hours are by appointment only (see the Contact page for how to setup an appointment).


Course Text

Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach by John Hennessy and David Patterson, Morgan Kauffman; 5th Edition, 2011, ISBN-13: 978-0-12-383872-8.

Recommended Books

MSP430 Microcontroller Basics by John H. Davies, Newnes, 2008, ISBN: 978-0-7506-8276-3. (Available also online through the GMU library).

Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface by David Patterson and John Hennessy, Morgan Kauffman; 5th Edition, 2013, ISBN: 978-0-12-407726-3 (Any edition 3rd revised and newer is fine).

Intel® 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer's Manuals (all manuals can be downloaded from the Intel Webpage)

The Intel Microprocessors by Barry B. Brey, Prentice Hall; 8th Edition, 2009, ISBN-13: 9780135026458.

Modern Processor Design: Fundamentals of Superscalar Processors by John Shen, Mikko Lipasti, McGraw-Hill Higher Education; 1st Edition, 2005, ISBN-13 9780070570641.

Related Courses

  • ECE 611 Advanced Microprocessors
  • ECE 612 Real-Time Embedded Systems
  • ECE 641 Computer System Architecture