CS2CA16-Computer Architecture

Module Provider: School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Summer term module
Pre-requisites: SE1PR11 Programming SE1FA15 Fundamentals and Applications of Computing
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Hong Wei

Email: h.wei@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

The module aims to provide students fundamental knowledge of modern computer architectures in terms of instruction set architecture, organisation and hardware.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students who complete this module will have:

basic skills for computer architecture design;
ability to quantitatively evaluate computer performance by using benchmark suites;
skills to improve computer performance by using hardware and software techniques.

Additional outcomes:
ARM (RISC processor) assembly programming skills and insight of MIPS architecture can be obtained from laboratory practicals.

Outline content:
The module introduces the underlying theory of modern computer architecture in terms of instruction set architecture, organisation, and hardware. It begins with an introduction to the fundamentals of computer design for Von Neumann architecture, and continues with an examination of the components of processor, memory and input/output. DLX, which is an educational edition of MIPS and RISC architecture, is used as a model machine in teaching.

An important theme is the relationship between architecture and performance. The module covers modern techniques for improving computer performance, such as instruction-level parallel processing (pipelining), and cache-memory-hierarchy design. The role of Input/Output in computer architecture with storage systems is also examined from the design point of view.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures supported by laboratory practicals and a number of assignments

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 1
Practicals classes and workshops 10
Guided independent study 69
Total hours by term 99.00 1.00
Total hours for module 100.00

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

Other information on summative assessment:
The set exercise in the above table consists of two on-line tests.

Formative assessment methods:
A set of self-assessed coursework corresponding to delivered topics.

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 2-hour examination paper in May/June

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Examination only.
    One 2-hour examination paper in August/September.

    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: 4 January 2017

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