SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHG424655
Module Leader Martin MacDonald
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject SCEBE - School Office
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

The aim of this module is to develop the students understanding of Basic functional blocks of a computer, Data representation, architectural choices, Memory organization and performance issues related to high performance computers.


The teaching syllabus will cover the following areas: Basic functional blocks of a computer: CPU, memory, input-output subsystems, control unit. Instruction set architecture of a CPU - registers, instruction execution cycle, RTL interpretation of instructions, addressing modes, instruction set. Case study - instruction sets of some common CPUs. Data representation: signed number representation, fixed and floating point representations, character representation. Computer arithmetic - integer addition and subtraction, ripple carry adder, carry look-ahead adder, etc. multiplication - shift-and-add, Booth multiplier, carry save multiplier, etc. Division - non-restoring and restoring techniques, floating point arithmetic. CPU control unit design: hardwired and micro-programmed design approaches. Memory system design: semiconductor memory technologies, memory organization. Peripheral devices and their characteristics: Input-output subsystems, I/O transfers - program controlled, interrupt driven and DMA, privileged and non-privileged instructions, software interrupts and exceptions. Programs and processes - role of interrupts in process state transitions, Performance enhancement techniques Pipelining: Basic concepts of pipelining, throughput and speedup, pipeline hazards. Memory organization: Memory interleaving, concept of hierarchical memory organization, cache memory, cache size vs. block size, mapping Functions, replacement algorithms, write policy.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the student should be able to:1. Describe the syntax and semantics of Instruction Sets.(AM1)2. Demonstrate the techniques for implementing arithmetic operations in modern computer architectures.(AM1,AM2)3. Compare the implementation of control unit using hardwired and micro-programmed design approaches.(AM1)4. Analyse performance issues in memory design of a digital computer. (AM1, AM5)5. Critically analyse the role of pipelining in high performance computing systems. (AM1,AM2)6. Analyse various methods of I/O operations and evaluate their merits/demerits.(AM1, AM5)

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The main teaching method will be based on lectures with laboratory exercises used to relate theoretical concepts to practical experience. The students will be expected to perform directed reading exercises and self-learning exercises to know emerging technologies systems used in high performance computers. Practical work will include exercises to get familiar with simulation and hardware interfacing using C language in Code Warrior IDE.

Indicative Reading

-360 1. David A. Patterson and John L. Hennessy,(2008), Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface, 4 th Edition, Elsevier. 2. Carl Hamachar, ZvoncoVranesic and SafwatZaky,(2001), Computer Organization, 5 th Edition,McGraw Hill. 3. John P. Hayes,(2002) Computer Architecture and Organization, 3 rd Edition, McGraw Hill. William Stallings,(2007), Computer Organization and Architecture: Designing for Performance, 6 th Edition, Pearson Education

Transferrable Skills

Laboratory work will enhance problem solving skills through C language programming using Code Warrior IDE, which will help them in developing solution to real time systems .Communication and Interpersonal skills are examined through Lab reports and assignment based course works.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (FT) 28.00
Lectures (FT) 56.00
Independent Learning (FT) 100.00
Assessment (FT) 16.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 15.00 n/a Class tests-summative
Exam (Exams Office) 3.00 50.00 45% Final Examination -  Unseen written examination-3 Hours
Exam (School) 1.50 20.00 n/a Mid-term test - Unseen written examination-1½ Hours
Coursework 2 n/a 15.00 n/a Assignment :Written report -1500 words-summative