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Course ID
3 ec


The course Processoren is taught by staff members Nils Jansen and Kasper Brink and teaching assistants Jasper Haasdijk, Gijs Hendriksen, Niek Janssen, Jordi Riemens, and Rico te Wechel. Nils Jansen is the examinator for this course; formal requests, e.g. about exemptions (vrijstelling), should be addressed to him. Unless there are special circumstances, requests for exemptions, in particular for students that received a passing partial grade (deelcijfer) last year, and third-chance-forms must be handed in on November 30th at the latest.

Course goals

  • You know the basic principles of computer organization.
  • You can describe the different levels of abstraction of the architecture of a modern computer.
  • You can explain the relationship between the organization of a processor and its instruction set.
  • You know various techniques for improving the performance of a processor.
  • You have some knowledge of circuit design, processor design, and assembly programming.


We recommend purchasing the following book:

Andrew S. Tanenbaum: Structured Computer Organisation, sixth edition, Pearson, 2013, or fifth edition, Pearson, 2006.

You can also review this book in the Study Centre of the Library of Science (placement code: STU 8 TA).


The course consists of two parts that will be graded separately:

  • Practical Assignment (practicum): you will construct a simple microprocessor in the simulator HADES. The practical assignment must be done in pairs.
  • Written Exam (tentamen): you are allowed to use the Tanenbaum book, and a printout of the practicum manual, during the exam.

To pass Processoren 2017-2018 you must participate in both parts of the course. Your grade will be the (rounded) average of both partial grades, provided you received at least a 5 for each part. Otherwise, your grade will be the minimum of the two partial grades. By handing in solutions to the homework exercises, it is possible to earn a bonus, which will be added to the lower of the two partial grades.

There is a resit (herkansing) of the exam and of the practical assignment. It is permitted to retake just one of the parts, or both of them; e.g. if you got a passing grade for the practical assignment, you only have to retake the exam. The resit of the practical assignment is only available for those processors that can achieve a passing grade with just minor modifications. We do not have the capacity to offer detailed supervision in these cases. It is also permitted, if your processor is almost finished by the original deadline, to submit it for the deadline of the resit, but in that case we also won't be able to offer detailed supervision.

There have been questions about the grading procedure. We have tried to break it down into an algorithmic scheme; see below. Note that this scheme only holds for grades that are not ‘ND’.

T0 = grade for exam, rounded to 1 decimal place      (1.0 <= T0 <= 10.0)
P0 = grade for practicum, rounded to 1 decimal place (1.0 <= P0 <= 10.0)

Tbonus = 1   if T0 <= P0 and at least 4 homework exercises "sufficient" or "good"
       | 0   otherwise

Pbonus = 1   if T0 > P0 and at least 4 homework exercises "sufficient" or "good"
       | 0   otherwise

T = T0 + Tbonus
P = P0 + Pbonus

F0 = min (T, P)          if T<5 or P<5
   | min ((T+P)/2, 10)   otherwise

The final grade F for the course is:

F = 6.0         if 5.5 <= F0 < 6.0
  | 5.0         if 5.0 <= F0 < 5.5
  | ROUND(F0)   otherwise, where ROUND rounds to the nearest multiple of 0.5

Homework and Bonus

There will be six weekly homework assignments that should be handed in on Fridays before 6pm, either electronically or on paper, depending on the preferences of your student assistant. The homework is not mandatory. However, if you get at least 4 sufficient marks on the homework exercises, you will earn a bonus point that will be added to the lower of your two partial grades.

Example exams

Please note that these exams, especially the older ones, may not be fully representative of the current content of the course.