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CMSC 411 Computer Architecture
First Social Quiz Answers
Spring, 2016
Dr. Michelle McElvany Hugue
Circle T or F as appropriate for each item below to earn one point per correct action. Explain how you
decided which letter to circle to earn up to two additional points per correct item. Your justification should
be brief. Zero credit for a blank answer. Please feel free to check the course resources, google, or some other
reference of your choice. Do remember to document any source other than the course resources.
T

[A] All Boolean logic expressions can be rewritten in terms of only nand instructions.

Answer: True. The nand function is universal, which means that every Boolean operator can be
written in terms of nands. For example, (notA) has the same truth table as ( A nand A). Similarly,
(A and B) can be written as (not (A nand B). The final expression, while ugly is
((Anand B) nand (A nand B) ) which has the same truth table as the original expression.
T

F [B] The run time of a process has improved if the ratio of the new run time to the old run time
A
.
exceeds ! (one). Note: Remember, the term ratio of A to B always means B
Answer: False, its old execution time divided by new execution time, which is equivalent to new
performance divided by old performance.

[C] The Clock Rate (CR) for a given CPU has units of seconds per tick.

Answer: False. Clock Rate has units of cycles or ticks per second. Clock Cycle Time has units of
seconds per tick.
T F [D] Computers used as servers are likely to have more cache levels than those intended for mobile
or hand-held devices.
Answer: True. Go visit the diagram at the beginning of Chapter 2 of the 5th edition of Hennessey and Patterson that shows typical CPU/Memory configurations for servers and mobile machines.
Typical applications of Mobile/hand-held devices consist of many transactions on small amounts of
informationnot massive information throughput. Conversely, server operations are dominated by
bulk information transferboth data and instructions. A typical transaction would require delivery of
a few very large blocks. So, using a third level of cache would increase the amount of information
which could be accessed without a vist to RAM. This actually exploits spatial locality.
T F [E] The execution time of a program on a machine with a clock cycle time of one nanosecond will
likely decrease when the clock is replaced by one with a five nanosecond clock cycle time.
Answer: False. Clock Rate has units of cycles or ticks per second. Clock Cycle Time has units of
seconds per tick.
T F [F] A change in the memory organization of a local robot will change the average instruction count
of the robots housekeeping routines.
Answer: False. The average instruction count and the memory organization are independent.
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T F [G] Random Access Memory (RAM) allows the information at any address to be read or written
directly. In contrast, access to Read Only Memory (ROM) is sequential.
Answer: False, ROM supports random access by address, just like RAM.
Sequential access means that traversing all the addresses between either the smallest address and the
target address or the current address and the target address, Tape is one of the technologies which
supports only sequential access.
T

F [H] Writing to a specific address in ROM requires traversing all the addresses between either the
smallest address and the target address or the current address and the target address,
Answer: False, first and foremost, ROM cannot be writtenonly read. Second, ROM supports
random access by address; its not sequential.

F [I] Access to the registers in the CPU of a mobile device is usually faster than register access in
the CPU of a server.
Answer: True,

T F [J] The average number of instructions (IC) in a set of programs is independent of the number of
clocks per instruction (CPI).
Answer: False, the IC and CPI both depend on the ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) For example,
in a RISC machine, a complex instruction from a CISC machine may need to be converted to several
simpler instructions, thus increasing the IC. By definition, RISC machines dont support many of the
complex CISC instructions; so the CPI is expected to decrease.
T F [K] The average CPU execution time is independent of the time required to produce the executable
image of a program.
Answer: True. The executable image is generated prior to runtime. Thus, the time required to
produce the executable has no impact on the average CPU execution time.
T

F [L] A C program will always run faster on a computer with a 1.2GHz clock than on one with a
500MHz clock.
Answer: False, a faster clock does not necessarily make all programs faster. For example, programs
that are memory bound or have human-driven I/O do not depend on the clock for their speed.

F [M] The execution time of the average program running on a given computer architecture can
usually be improved by decreasing the clock rate.
False. Decreasing the clock rate is the same as decreasing the number of ticks per second (or whatever
time unit you have). That means that the machine does less work each second; so, execution time is
not likely to improve.

F [N] In a Big Endian Machine, the lsb (least significant bit) of a 64 bit register is the right-most
bit.
Answer: False, Endian-ness is about memory addresses, not about registers, and not about left or
right.

[O] One picosecond is longer than one femtosecond.

Answer: True. A picosecond is 1012 seconds, while a femtosecond is 1015 seconds.

F [P] An enhancement of machine A is desirable when the ratio of the average performance of the
enhanced machine (E) to the average performance of the original or native machine A is less than one
(1).
False , if the ratio of performance on E to performance on A (E divided by A) is less than one, then
the number of jobs per time on the native machine ( A) was larger than the number of jobs per time
on the supposedly enhanced machine E, meaning the enhancment degraded the performance

T F [Q] A machine with four gigabytes (4G) of byte-addressable memory consists of exactly 109 8-bit
long objects.
Answer: False, Thats 230 because memory is specified in powers of 2. Money and network transfer
rates are in powers of 10.
T F [R] The twos complement of the w-bit string x is given by c, where c is just -x, as in negative x.
Answer: True because the twos complement of an integer is another name for the additive inverse
of that integer.
T

F [S] The average number of clocks per instruction in a program is independent of any delay in
getting the instructions from disk into the CPU.
Answer: False. The average number of clocks per instruction is the sum of the average CPI from
the CPU and the average CPI associated with memory access. That is, the time needed to satisfy the
CPUs memory request increases the overall CPI.

T F [T] Decreasing the average instruction count for a given machine will improve the execution time
of all programs run on that machine.
Answer: False, because decreasing the average IC does not mean that the CPI decreases for all
instructions. So, it is possible that the execution time of some programs will not change because it
uses no instructions for which the IC changed. Another reason its false is because if a program is I/O
bound or memory boundmeaning that memory delays or waiting for slow inputs or outputting to a
slow device dominates the execution time, then the impact of a change in the CPI may be negligible.
T

[U] The CPU of a server can write directly to main memory.

Answer: False. Look at the picture. There is no direct path between the CPU and RAM.
T

F [V] The instruction count of a program and the average number of clock cycles per instruction
mauy change when the clock cycle time is decreawsed.
Answer: False, the clock cycle time change is independent of the method of implementing the
instructions, of choosing which instructions to execute, and of the number of instructions used in the
program.

F [W] The most negative 32 bit twos complement integer corresponds to a bit pattern of all 1s,
which is written in base 16 as 0xFFFF FFFF.
Answer: False, the bit pattern described is -1 (negative 1). The bit pattern having a 1 in the
sign bit and all the rest 0s represents the most negative 32-bit twos complement integer, with base
16 representation of 0x8000 0000. The largest 2s complement integer with 32 bits has base 16
representation of 7FFF FFFF. This gives the range of integers from 231 to 231 1.

T F [X] A computer modification that changes the average number of clock cycles per instruction will
never cause the instruction count to change.
Answer: False, If the modification causes the average number of clock cycles to decrease by removing
all the complex instructions, then the instruction count is likely to increase when each instantiation of
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a single complex instruction is replaced by the equivalent sequence of simpler instructions. This is why
pipelining was required to make RISC architectures dominate the computer marketthe exploitation
of instruction level parallelism was necessary to handle more instructions in less time.
T F [Y] Light travels about a meter in one nanosecond. (Hint: the speed of light is 3 108 meters per
second.)
Answer: False, Do the mathand if you think that a foot is about a meter, and want about $3000
for your used car, Ill be happy to pay you $900.
k
0.3m = 109 3 108 = 3 101