Module Catalogue 2020/21

CSC1024 : Computer Architecture (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jennifer Warrender
  • Lecturer: Dr Sadegh Soudjani
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The main aim of this module is to introduce structured computer organisation at a number of levels of abstraction:
1. Digital logic
2. Microarchitecture
3. Instruction Set
4. Assembly language
Theory will be put into context by examining the architecture of a range of real microprocessors.

The secondary aim of this module is to teach assembly language programming using an emulator for a simple computer architecture.

Outline Of Syllabus

- history of computers
- example computer families

Computer Systems
- processors
- primary memory
- secondary memory
- input/output devices

Digital Logic Level
- boolean algebra
- logic gates
- logic circuits
- memory
- CPUs
- Buses

Microarchitecture Level
- Data path
- Microinstructions
- Cache memory
- Pipelining

Instruction Set Level
- Registers
- Memory Models
- Data Types
- Addressing Modes
- Instruction Types
- Flow of Control

Assembly Language Level
- Statements
- Macros
- The Assembly Process

Parallel Computer Architectures
- On-Chip Parallelism
- Co-Processors
- Shared Memory Multiprocessors
- Message Passing Multicompilers
- Grid Computing

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

To be able to:
- describe the basic computing system concepts necessary to design, install and maintain realistic systems
- describe the architecture of a modern, digital computer and its components

Intended Skill Outcomes

To be able to:
- sketch the internal organisation of a microprocessor
- apply critical analysis of computing technologies and hardware components
- write simple programs in assembly language

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion220:3011:00Revision for end of semester exams
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion331:0033:00Lecture follow-up
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture331:0033:00Lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical112:0022:00Practicals
Guided Independent StudyProject work112:0022:00Coursework
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study791:0079:00Background reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to introduce the learning material and for demonstrating the key concepts by example. Students are expected to follow-up lectures within a few days by re-reading and annotating lecture notes to aid deep learning.

This is a very practical subject, and it is important that the learning materials are supported by hands-on opportunities provided by practical classes. Students are expected to spend time on coursework outside timetabled practical classes.

Students aiming for 1st class marks are expected to widen their knowledge beyond the content of lecture notes through background reading.

Students should set aside sufficient time to revise for the end of semester exam.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination601A50OLAF on Blackboard
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M50Assessed practicals (up to 30 hours)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination will consist of a number of factual questions corresponding to the lecture notes and a range of challenging questions which require the student to apply theory to real problems.

The assessment in Semester 2 is a practical test of assembly language programming.

Study abroad students considering this module should contact the School to discuss its availability and assessment.

N.B. This module has both “Exam Assessment” and “Other Assessment” (e.g. coursework). If the total mark for either assessment falls below 35%, the maximum mark returned for the module will normally be 35%.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.