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CSC1032 : Computer Systems Design and Architectures

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Miss Laura Heels
  • Lecturer: Dr Nick Cook, 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


On completion of this module students will, from a high level perspective, be able to
• describe the purpose of, and the interaction between, the functional hardware and software components of a variety of computer systems
• identify the principal hardware components and software services which provide infrastructure for the Internet from the global scale down to the desktop
• describe the components of operating systems and how they are combined with applications to provide services and share resources.

Outline Of Syllabus

•       An overview of current computer systems architecture.
•       Introduction to Operating Systems: what they are and what they do, management of resources.
•       Processes, scheduling. Interprocess communication (IPC).
•       Memory, virtual memory and memory management. Files, file systems.
•       An introduction to Linux and system administration and systems programming.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials361:0036:00Lectures recorded– not 2 hour blocks but shorter pieces- learn online. PiP contact time avail
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion441:0044:00Lecture follow-up.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30Semester 2 examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion121:0012:00Revision for Semester 2 examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion41:004:00Formative exercises (mock test)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion121:0012:00Semester 1 Assessment.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical242:0048:00Practical activities in person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery180:309:00Online Q&A session/drop-in with module staff.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study133:3033:30Background reading and independent study.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Techniques and theory are presented in lectures which are recorded in advance. Practical sessions provide experience of designing and building database applications and can be carried out online.

This is a very practical subject, and it is important that the learning materials are supported by hands-on opportunities provided by practical classes, and on the related Programming Portfolio modules.

The new online drop-in/clinic sessions give students additional support and chances to talk to staff members.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination602A50N/A
PC Examination901A50Assessment which tests knowledge based on semester 1 content.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
PC Examination2MMock Test prior to exam to consolidate student knowledge ahead of the summative exam.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

N.B. This module has via PC Exam. If the total mark for either assessment falls below 35%, the maximum mark returned for the module will normally be 35%.

Alternative assessment plan: 24 hour exam which can be taken from home.

The PC examination in Semester 2 will assess the fundamental knowledge and understanding of Semester 2 taught material.
Semester 1 will be assessed with a piece of coursework allowing the students to apply the theory taught in lectures. A mock test will take place in Semester 2 to enable the students to prepare for the examination.
The portfolio modules will also use elements from this module enabling further practice for the students.

Reading Lists