V22.0436 - Prof. Grishman

Practice Final Exam Questions

Time calculations

  1. A processor runs at 2GHz. What is the length of its clock cycle? (Give your answer in microseconds, nanoseconds, or picoseconds.)
  2. A disk has an access time of 10 ms. Assuming the time for data transfer is negligible, how many disk accesses can be performed each second?
  3. A disk rotates at 6000 RPM.  What is its average rotational latency?
  4. The access time of a disk is composed of ______________ and _____________.
  5. Suppose we have a loop of 10 machine instructions and we execute this loop one billion times on a 2 GHz machine with a CPI of 2.0.  How long will the billion iterations of the loop take?

Circuit Design

  1. Design a fast circuit to compute the sum of two 2-bit positive numbers. Construct a truth table for such a circuit, and then convert the truth table into a sum-of-products logic formula for each output. Suppose you constructed this circuit using inverters and AND and OR gates with up to 4 inputs, where each inverter and gate has a delay of 500 ps.  What is the propagation delay of this circuit, from input to output?

MIPS Processor Design

  1. Write a MIPS program with a loop which copies the 20 words (80 bytes) beginning at byte 1000 to the 20 words beginning at byte 2000.
  2. Give the bit pattern (32 bits) for add $3,$2,$1
  3. What is the purpose of the 'sign extend' circuit in the MIPS CPU you simulated? Suppose we didn't have a sign extend circuit; what limitation would there be on branch instructions?
  4. For which instruction is the Ainvert signal needed?


  1. On a pipelined MIPS machine, the instruction sequence
        add $4, $2, $3
        add $5, $4, $3
    is an example of what type of hazard?  What can we do to efficiently handle this problem?
  2. On a pipelined MIPS machine, the instruction sequence
        lw  $4, 100($0)
        add $5, $4, $3
    is an example of what type of hazard?  What can we do to efficiently handle this problem?
  3. On a pipelined MIPS machine, the instruction sequence
        bne $1, $2, quack
        add $5, $4, $3
    is an example of what type of hazard?  What can we do to efficiently handle this problem?

Cache Memory

  1. Consider two alternative caches, each of which has a capacity of 8 words and a block size of one word. Cache D is a direct mapped cache, and cache T is a two-way set associative cache. Suppose the cache is initially empty and we fetch the words at the following addresses in sequence: 1, 2, 9, 3, 1, 5, 9. Which of these fetches will result in cache hits?
  2. Suppose that we have a 2 ns cache (it takes 2 ns to access the data or identify a miss), and a memory system with a 40 ns access time. What is the average memory access time if the cache hit rate is 97%? If we built a larger cache, with a 4 ns access time but a hit rate of 98%, would the average memory access time increase or decrease?
    We may also ask about the effect on C or Java code, as we did in Assignment #8.


  1. Suppose we have a disk which transfers 40MB/sec and interrupts the CPU each time a byte is available. The CPU executes approximately 800 mips, and the interrupt routine takes 15 instructions to transfer a byte to memory. What fraction of the CPU time will be occupied doing IO with the disk?  What could we do to reduce this overhead?

Multithreading and Multiprocessors

  1. Suppose you have a program which takes 100 seconds on a single processor.  10% of the time is consumed by code which is inherently sequential;  the other 90% can be fully parallelized.  Suppose we buy a 50-processor multiprocessor and parallelize the program as much as possible.  How much time should the program take, ignoring communication overhead?
  2. The Quackers multiprocessor consists of 100 processors connected in a 10-by-10 2d grid with 4Gb/sec bidirectional links.  What is the bisection bandwidth of this network?
  3. The text shows two versions of parallel code (for shared memory and message passing machines) to compute the sum of a 100,000 element array using 100 processors.  What would have to be changed in this code to use 200 processors?
Final Exam: Monday, December 17, 2pm - 3:50pm, Room 201 Warren Weaver Hall
You may bring to the exam copies of the lecture notes and up to 3 double-sided sheets with your own study notes.