Systems Architecture


Course Objective

1. Explain the basic concepts, historical objectives, and modern
functions of digital computers.
2. Describe the basic architecture and operation of digital computers.
3. Use proficiently binary data representation, number representation,
and arithmetic and data conversion.
4. Explain at a proficient level the architecture and operation of each
of the main components of a digital computer: the basic processing unit,
the hierarchical memory system, the I/O system, and the interconnection
5. Explain at a basic level various system mechanisms for building
faster single-node systems, such as pipelining and caching, and
large-scale systems.
6. Demonstrate proficiency with basic assembly programming by
implementing basic operations of digital computing in realistic
7. Analyze at a basic level the tradeoffs inherent in the design of
digital computers, concerning among others performance (simple
modeling), scalability (Amdahl's Law), availability, energy consumption,
and cost.

Course Content

Computers are everywhere, in industry, academia, governance, and many
other activities that impact our society. But what are they? How do they
work? How to analyze them and to improve their performance?

Matching the requirements of the IEEE/ACM CS Curriculum, topics for
this course include: the architecture, the structure, the operation and
the interconnection of computer components into computer systems,
including modern architectures, data representation, assembler
programming, virtual machines, the structure of translators, compiling
and loading, basic operating systems concepts (I/O, interrupt handling,

Teaching Methods

Lectures 4h/week
Tutorial (Instructie) 2h/week.
Practical work (Lab) 4h/week, from week 3.
Self-study in teams.
This course uses dr. Iosup's method for gamification.

Method of Assessment

(Mandatory) basic lab assignments. Does not award any points. (Turn in
to SAs)
(Mandatory) final exam, written, multiple choice.
(Optional) in-class exercises, oral and written.
(Optional) mid-term exam, written, multiple choice. The results of the
mid-term exam count only if the final exam is also taken by the student,
and only if it increases the final grade of the student.
(Optional) self-study booklet, hand-written. (Turn in to TA)
(Optional) advanced lab assignments. (Turn in to SAs)
(Optional) bonus lab assignments. (Turn in to SAs)

All partial results (including the lab, and the mid-term and final
exams) are only valid during one academic year.

The end grade is the total number of points acummulated across all
assessment possibilities scored divided by 1000.
It is possible to score a perfect 10 as final grade.
The different course activities are graded as follows:
1) Exam, multiple-choice questions (max 7,500 points)
2) Self-study assignments (max 2,000 points)
3) Lab assignments (max 4,000 points)
4) In-class activity (max 50 points per session).

There is only a resit opportunity for the exam.


(students can pick any)
Carl Hamacher and Zvonko Vranesic, Computer Organization, 6th edition,
McGraw-Hill Education, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0073380650
David A. Patterson and John L. Hennessy, Computer Organization and
Design: The Hardware/Software Interface, 5th edition, Morgan Kaufmann,
2013. ISBN-13: 978-0124077263

Additional Study Materials
Course and Lab guides are also provided via Canvas.

General Information

Course Code XB_40009
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 100
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. A. Uta MSc
Examiner prof. dr. ir. A. Iosup
Teaching Staff prof. dr. ir. A. Iosup
dr. A. Uta MSc

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: