Computer Architecture

University of Reading

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Computer Architecture

  • Host University

    University of Reading

  • Location

    Reading, England

  • Area of Study

    Architecture, Computer Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Pre-requisites: SE1PR11 Programming and SE1CA11 Computer Applications
    Non-modular pre-requisites:

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    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 practical sessions.

    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. Basic concepts of embedded system design are also discussed in the level of instruction set architecture. DLX, which is an educational edition of MIPS and RISC 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

    Summative Assessment Methods:
    Written exam 70%
    Set exercise 30%

    Other information on summative assessment:

    Formative assessment methods:

    Penalties for late submission:
    The Module Convener 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:
    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:

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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