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Multi-core techniques are now common even in general computing applications. It is thus critical for our students to be prepared to deal with such systems from both a hardware and software design perspective. In this work, we address the need for multi-core hardware design practice in an undergraduate introductory computer architecture course. Lecture and laboratory materials for a dual-core design sequence were developed in 2007. The new materials have been used each subsequent semester. The yield of functional dual-core designs was 18% for individual students one semester and 56% for student teams of two in another semester. An analysis of student dual-core results indicate that course policies and success on earlier laboratories had a strong impact on the dual-core design yield.
Date of Conference: 25-27 July 2009