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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

COMP1211 Computer Architecture

10 creditsClass Size: 500

Module manager: Dr Zheng Wang

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Computer systems are often viewed as a single entity which provide a collection of services. However, this view is an intentional abstraction in order to aid the implementation and adoption of computers into industry. This module takes a closer look at computer systems and unveils the architecture of a computer system's components and how the internal architecture facilitates the computer system's function.This module focuses on how how various components of a computer system are connected together and how abstraction allows computer systems to be constructed of layers based on the separation of concern.This module forms the basis of later modules that look at the architecture of cloud platforms.


This module aims to provide an overview of computer systems and how they are composed of components that connect together to form an architecture.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module a student will have demonstrated the ability to:

- describe how data is represented in a computer system, justify the appropriate representation and be able to apply techniques to convert between representations.
- explain the architecture of a computing system comparing it to taught model architectures.
- distinguish between difference types of error and explain how techniques are applied to ensure the security and integrity of data.
- Evaluate computer systems and justify why they meet their requirements.


This module covers the following 3 topic areas:

- Data representation : representation of instructions, 2s complement, fixed and variable precision number representations, encoding of characters and strings and methods of converting between representations.
- Architecture of Computer Systems : organisation of tradition architectures (von Neumann, Harvard), computer systems are constructed from layers of components, how computer system manage and allocate computing resources, virtual machines, interrupts, processes, threads, pipelining, and computer system components (cache memory, magnetic disk drives, interface buses).
- Security and Integrity of Data : error detection, error correction, program/system/hardware errors, isolation and protection of running processes.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Example Class51.005.00
Class tests, exams and assessment12.002.00
Private study hours66.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)98.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Exercises sheets will be provided for students. Sample solutions will be made available via tutorial classes or on Minerva.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQMCQ/Short Answer50.00
In-course MCQMCQ/Short Answer50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

This module will be reassessed by an online time-constrained assessment.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 15/03/2022 16:12:18


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