The University of Sheffield
Department of Computer Science

COM165 Computer Systems Architecture

Summary This module introduces the important elements of computer architecture including digital logic, computer arithmetic and instruction set architecture. The approach in the module is to show how the basic elements of a computer are constructed and combined to give sophisticated architectures that support accelerated performance via cache memory and pipelining.
Session Autumn 2013/14
Credits 10
Assessment 20% continuous assessment via multiple-choice quizzes.
80% examination (2 hours).
Lecturer(s) Dr Dirk Sudholt
Aims The aim of this module is to give a fundamental knowledge and understanding of the basic computer structures that underlie computer architectures.
Objectives By the end of this module students should:
  • know how to design functional units using combinatorial and sequential logic;
  • understand the computer representation of integer and floating-point numbers;
  • understand and be able to describe the components of a computer system, and the interfaces between them;
  • understand the structure of a typical computer instruction set, and be able to explain the function of instructions using RTL notation;
  • understand and be able to write simple programs in assembly language;
  • understand how system performance can be accelerated by use of pipelining and cache memory.
  • Gates and circuits
  • Boolean algebra
  • Implementing logic
  • Sequential circuits
  • Computer arithmetic: binary numbers
  • Computer arithmetic: floating point
  • Instruction set architecture
  • The structure of the CPU
  • Assembly language programming
  • Accelerating performance
  • Computer memory
Not open to students from the Department of Computer Science or students who are taking or have taken COM1090 or COM1006.
Teaching Method Lectures and laboratory work.
Feedback Students will receive feedback on their solutions to laboratory exercise sheets and problem sheets. Solutions to the online quizzes are delivered through the MOLE system with additional feedback, and can also be discussed with laboratory demonstrators.
Recommended Reading
  • A. Clements (2006) Principles of computer hardware. Oxford University Press
  • M. Mano (1992) Computer system architecture (third edition). Prentice Hall