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MEng Electronic Engineering

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Computer Systems Architecture

Unit code EEEN30040
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

Brief description of the unit:

Analysing and optimising the performance of application software often requires a detailed knowledge of the hardware architecture and low-level programming of computer systems, as well as the relevant analysis and synthesis skills. This unit provides students with these skills and knowledge. The unit is structured around the eight principal topics listed below.

  • Fundamentals of computer architecture
  • Processor instruction formats
  • Quantitative performance analysis
  • Memory hierarchy
  • CISC and RISC architectures
  • Arithmetic and data representation
  • Instruction pipelining
  • Multiprocessor architectures

 

Pre/co-requisites

Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Microcontroller Engineering I EEEN10018 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Digital System Design I EEEN10026 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Microcontroller Engineering II EEEN20019 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Digital Systems Design II EEEN20023 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
C Programming EEEN10036 Pre-Requisite Compulsory

Aims

This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 2020/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates.

The unit aims to:

Provide an introduction to the hardware architecture and low-level programming of modern computer systems.

 

Learning outcomes

On the successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

Developed

Assessed

ILO 1

Describe in detail the operation of hardware architectural components

X

X

ILO 2

Apply standard design techniques to specify or parameterise  hardware architectural components

X

X

ILO 3

Analyse the operation of hardware architectural components when executing programs

X

X

ILO 4

Evaluate the performance of assembly language instruction sequences and synthesise optimised versions

X

X

ILO 5

Create software to simulate the operation of hardware architectural components and derive performance metrics

X

X

 

Teaching and learning methods

The unit is delivered through: 18 lectures, 6 Examples Classes and 2 Laboratory Classes. The Laboratory Classes are designed to reinforce key concepts from the lecture material. Students are provided with access to commercial architectural simulation tools.

 

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 20%
Written exam 80%

Coursework:

2 laboratories both assessed in lab and 1 report to be submitted via Blackboard.

Coursework forms 20% of the unit assessment

Recommended reading

J.L. Hennessy and D.A. Patterson, “Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface”, ARM Edition, Morgan Kaufmann, 2016.

J.L. Hennessy and D.A. Patterson, “Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach”, Sixth Edition, Morgan Kaufmann, 2017.

N. Nisan and S. Schocken, “The elements of computing systems : building a modern computer from first principles”, MIT Press, 2008.

 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 18
Practical classes & workshops 6
Tutorials 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 70

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Peter Green Unit coordinator

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