CS 446 Software Design and Architectures

Watch a video introduction to this course on YouTube.


To introduce students to the software design process and its models. Representations of design/architecture. Software architectures and design plans. Design methods. Design state assessment. Design quality assurance. Design verification. Group design and implementation of an application.

Intended Audience

CS 446 is a course for CS major students and is normally taken in a student's 4A term. This course is one of three that form the basis for the software engineering option. This option will be for students specializing in the development of large software systems. Students from other plans in Computer Science may elect to enrol in this course.

Related Courses

Prerequisites: CS 350; Computer Science students only.

Antirequisites: CS 430, SE 464.

Related courses: CS 445, CS 447.

Cross-listed as: ECE 452.


Used in Course: C/C++, Tcl/Tk.

Assumed Background: UNIX, SDT, Rose, C/C++. Familiarity with graphical user interface tools would be an asset.



3 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, and 1 discussion hour (for project group meetings). Normally available in Winter and Spring.


Introduction (1 hr)

Why design? Input, output, and constraints of the design process. Types of design. Relationship to software quality and evolution. Design in more mature implementation technologies.

Software Design Process Models (3 hours)

Design as search. Design spaces. Design state, goal structure, generative design operations, early quantitative evaluations, control of design process. Basic models of design (transformational, plan/architecture driven). Relationship to other life-cycle activities.

Architecture/Design Representations (9 hours)

What should be represented (structure, behaviour)? Informal representations of design, examples of design notations. Formal representation of design. Domain specific architecture descriptions. Role of standards, reference architectures. Design documentation.

Design Plans/Architecture (9 hours)

Review of small/medium scale plans (data structures, programming language structures, concurrency). Plans/architectures for common types of software systems (translators, embedded, real-time, user interface).

Design Strategies and Methods (6 hours)

Design strategies. Selected methods: object modeling technique, structured design, real-time, user interfaces. Methods for design with off-the-shelf components.

Design Assessment (3 hours)

Assessment dimensions and factors affecting their relative importance. Design tradeoffs. Evolvability/understandability criteria. Design complexity metrics. Assessment strategies (analytical, simulation, rapid prototyping), example: response time/throughput estimation.

Design Quality Assurance and Verification (3 hours)

Design reviews, scenarios and test cases, testing of executable design representations. Verification of properties.

Campaign Waterloo

David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1

Tel: 519-888-4567 x33293
Fax: 519-885-1208

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