This unit of study explores the design of a computer system at the architectural level. Topics covered computer hardware, computer software, data and communications, which makes up the architecture of a computer system. In addition to concepts of computer systems, the unit will discuss modern computer systems' applications such as Google applications, Cloud computing and Mobile applications. Although computer technology is developed very quickly, the basic architecture of computer systems has changed surprisingly little. This understanding is at the foundation of being a competent and successful system analyst, system architect, system administrator or programmer.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Rationalise key processor components;  
  2. Review and analyse computer systems;  
  3. Use simulator programs to model computer system components; and  
  4. Design and construct application specific solutions in the field of computer architecture.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Practical Knowledge Test (one hour) 25%
Assignment Computer simulation 25%
Examination Final Written Examination (3 hours) 50%

Required reading

Reading material will be negotiated in consultation with the lecturer and will be appropriate to the topic under investigation.

Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective 3rd ed.
Randal E. Bryant and David R. O'Hallaron (2015)

Reference book: John L. Hennessy (2011) Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, 5th ed. Morgan Kaufmann

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