SSST Subjects

Computer Organization and Architecture

Computer Science


Information Systems


Programme(s) where module is offered

  • BSc Computer Science with Electrical Engineering;
  • BSc Computer Science with Economics;
  • BSc Computer Science with Management;
  • BSc Computer Science with International Relations;
  • BSc Computer Science with Political Science;
  • BSc Information Systems with Electrical Engineering;
  • BSc Information Systems with Economics;
  • BSc Information Systems with Management;
  • BSc Information Systems with International Relations;
  • BSc Information Systems with Political Science;

LEVEL: (F,A,P,1,2,3,M)



FHEQ Level



Unit Value



Semester taught



Pre-Requisite Modules or Qualifications



Module Code

CS/IS 130


Module coordinator

Nedžad Mehić


Applicable From



Educational Aims of the Module

  • The module aims to introduce students to the fundamentals of computer hardware and software.
  • After a short historic review, the module introduces 7 layers of abstraction; deals with bits, data types and operations; and then goes into implementation of von Neumann architecture: hardware (gates, registers, processing unit, memory), sequencing (finite state machines), data representation and manipulation (numbers, characters, strings, structures), and instruction set and their implementation on hardware.
  • Then the module teaches the art of programming (declarations, statements, control structures, functions, etc.) in machine and assembly language.

Module Outline/Syllabus

  • History of computing and computers. Von Neumann architecture.
  • Bits, Data Types, and Operations.
  • Digital Logic Structures.
  • Implementation of von Neumann model with LC-3 architecture.
  • Programming organization of LC-3 machine.
  • Assembly language programming.
  • I/O interrupts and trap implementation.
  • Functions, subroutines, the stack.
  • Module Review and Conclusion.

Student Engagement Hours

Type Number per Term Duration Total Time
Lectures 30 2 hours 60 hours
Tutorials 15 2 hours 30 hours
Total Guided/Independent Learning Hours 110
Total Contact Hours 90
Total Engagement Hours 200

Assessment Method Summary

Type Number Required Duration / Length Weighting Timing / Submission Deadline
Final exam 1 180 minutes 50% End of semester
Mid-term exam 1 90 minutes 25% Mid-semester
Assignment 1 2,000 words 15% Week 4 and 12
Quiz 2 90 minutes 10% Weeks 4 and 12

Module Outcomes

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Lectures 
  • Tutorials
  • Tutorials with tutor-lead support
  • Assignment 
  • Use of quizzes to test student subject knowledge 

Assessment Strategy

  • Mid-term exam 
  • Assignment        
  • Quiz 
  • Final exam 

Key Texts and/or other learning materials

Set text

  • Yale N. Patt, Sanjay J. Patel: Introduction to Computing Systems from bits and gates to C and beyond, McGraw-Hill 2004 2nd ed., ISBN 0-07-121503-4 (ISE)

Supplementary Materials

  • Hyde R., (2004), Write Great Code: Volume I: Understanding the Machine, No Strach Press
  • Nisan N., Schocken S., (2008),The Elements of Computing Systems: Building a Modern Computer from First Principles, The MIT Press
  • Patterson, D., Hennessy, J., (2013), Computer Organisation and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface, 5th Edition, Morgan Kauffman
  • Harris, S., Harris, D., (2015), Digital Design and Computer Architecture, Morgan Kauffman
  • Hennessy, J., (2011), Computer Architecture, 5th Edition, Morgan Kauffman
  • Goldstine, H., (2008) The Computer from Pascal to von Neumann, Princeton University Press

Please note

This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the module and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided.

More detailed information on the learning outcomes, content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each module and programme can be found in the departmental or programme handbook.

The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually by the University of Buckingham and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.

Date of Production : Autumn 2016

Date approved by School Learning and Teaching Committee: 28th September 2016

Date approved by School Board of Study : 12th October 2016

Date approved by University Learning and Teaching Committee: 2nd November 2016

Date of Annual Review: December 2017


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