CS1FC16-Fundamentals of Computer Science

Module Provider: Computer Science
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Hong Wei

Email: h.wei@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module introduces the essential concept of computer systems in the autumn term, and the foundations of data structures and algorithms in the spring term.

The module aims to establish a foundation for computer science students with the main features of computer systems and algorithms, from which students can appreciate the relevance and interrelationships of further studies in the discipline.

Assessable learning outcomes:

Students completing this module should be able to:

• describe the structure of computer systems and the interaction between software and hardware;

• use binary code for information representation;

• articulate data manipulation inside a computer system through a machine language (instructions) and relevant operations;

• explain the role of computer networking in computer communication, including internet and its applications;

• appreciate the importance of information security in computer design and usages;

• explain the role of designing algorithms, as distinct from designing programs;

• describe and use various data structures in computer programs;

• analyse an algorithm and assess its efficiency;

• construct pseudo-code algorithms from problem specifications;

• appreciate different levels of programming languages and their roles in computer operations.

Additional outcomes:
In the laboratory practicals of algorithm development, programming skills are enhanced in solving real world problems.

Outline content:

• General introduction to computer systems and hardware/software interaction;

• Information representation: binary representation of text, integer, and floating points;

• Data manipulation: the role of computer architecture, instructions and program execution;

• Operating systems: components and their functions;

• Computer networking: network classification, protocols, internet architecture and applications;

• Information security: threats and protections, good practices;

• Data structure: graphs, trees, lists, stacks, queues;

• Algorithms: the art of problem solving, searching and sorting, time order;

• Programming languages: machine dependence/independence and beyond, programming paradigms.


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module comprises 2 lectures per week, associated with laboratory practicals and tutorials. Coursework assignments are used to reinforce the relevant lectures.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 20 4
Practicals classes and workshops 10 10
Guided independent study 68 68
Total hours by term 98.00 98.00 4.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Set exercise 30

Other information on summative assessment:
The module includes an algorithms assignment and practical assignments in the laboratory.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One 3-hour examination paper in May/June.

    Requirements for a pass:


    Reassessment arrangements:

    One examination paper of 3 hours duration in August/September - the resit module mark will be the higher of the exam mark (100% exam) and the exam mark plus previous coursework marks (70% exam, 30% coursework).

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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