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Module ICE-1501:
Computer Architecture & OS

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Saad Mansoor

Overall aims and purpose

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to the structure and components of a computer system.
  • instruct students in peripherial devices, including input and output and data storage.
  • present the key components and responsibilities of an operating system.
  • introduce concurrency and resource sharing.

Course content

Indicative content includes:

  • CPUs, the von Neumann and Harvard mdoels.
  • Binary mathematics and operations.
  • Digital logic, AND, OR, NAND, NOR, NOT, and XOR.
  • Processes,
  • Scheduling and resource sharing
  • memory magment

Assessment Criteria


Equivalent to the range 70%+. Assemble critically evaluated, relevent areas of knowledge and theory to constuct professional-level solutions to tasks and questions presented. Is able to cross-link themes and aspects to draw considered conclusions. Presents outputs in a cohesive, accurate, and efficient manner.


Equivalent to 40%. Uses key areas of theory or knowledge to meet the Learning Outcomes of the module. Is able to formulate an appropriate solution to accurately solve tasks and questions. Can identify individual aspects, but lacks an awareness of links between them and the wider contexts. Outputs can be understood, but lack structure and/or coherence.


Equivalent to the range 60%-69%. Is able to analyse a task or problem to decide which aspects of theory and knowledge to apply. Solutions are of a workable quality, demonstrating understanding of underlying principles. Major themes can be linked appropriately but may not be able to extend this to individual aspects. Outputs are readily understood, with an appropriate structure but may lack sophistication.

Learning outcomes

  1. Explain the key components of a general computer system.

  2. Apply the binary, octal, and hexadecimal number systems and apply conversions between them.

  3. Utilise the Fetch/Execute cycle to explain how computers execute operations.

  4. Identify the key aspects of files and file systems, and how and operating system organises them.

  5. Solve process scheduling and other resource sharing operations common to operating systems.

  6. Understand the fundamental digital logic operations and extend them to create higher order operations.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Class Test 1 25
Class Test 2 25
Raspberry Pi Assessment 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Traditional Lecture (2 x 1hrs x 12 weeks)


Laboratory exercises. (2 hrs x 12 weeks)

Private study

Private study including completing individual assessments.


Practical seminar (1 hr x 12 weeks)


Transferable skills

  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information

Subject specific skills

  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of computer systems for controlling complex systems;
  • Assess and choose optimal methods and approaches for the specification, design, implementation and evaluation of engineering solutions, especially ones that include embedded microprocessors
  • Solve problems logically and systematically;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with relevant subject specific and general computer software packages.
  • Knowledge and understanding of facts, concepts, principles & theories
  • Problem solving strategies
  • Deploy theory in design, implementation and evaluation of systems
  • Specify, design or construct computer-based systems
  • Deploy tools effectively
  • Development of general transferable skills
  • Knowledge of systems architecture
  • System Design
  • Knowledge and/or understanding of appropriate scientific and engineering principles
  • Specify, deploy, verify and maintain computer-based systems
  • Principles of appropriate supporting engineering and scientific disciplines

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: