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This is an archived syllabus from 2013-2014

COMP12111 Fundamentals of Computer Engineering syllabus 2013-2014

COMP12111 Fundamentals of Computer Engineering

Level 1
Credits: 10
Enrolled students: 192

Course leader: Paul Nutter

Additional staff: view all staff

Assessment methods

  • 50% Written exam
  • 50% Practical skills assessment
Sem 1 Lecture 1.1 Thu 09:00 - 09:00 -
Sem 1 Lecture 1.1 Mon 16:00 - 16:00 -
Sem 1 w2+ Lab Toot 0 Fri 09:00 - 09:00 V
Sem 1 w2+ Lab Toot 0 Wed 09:00 - 09:00 X
Sem 1 w2+ Lab Toot 1 Fri 09:00 - 09:00 V
Sem 1 w2+ Lab Toot 1 Wed 09:00 - 09:00 X
Sem 1 w2+ Lab Toot 0 Thu 13:00 - 13:00 Z
Sem 1 w2+ Lab Toot 1 Thu 13:00 - 13:00 Z
Sem 1 w2+ Lab Toot 0 Tue 14:00 - 14:00 Y
Sem 1 w2+ Lab Toot 1 Tue 14:00 - 14:00 Y
Sem 1 w2+ Lab Toot 0 Thu 15:00 - 15:00 W
Sem 1 w2+ Lab Toot 1 Thu 15:00 - 15:00 W


This course introduces digital logic and its application in computer organisation and design.

The major emphasis is on practical design work. In the laboratory state-of-the-art computer-aided design tools are used to support the design of digital hardware systems. Students' designs are simulated and then implemented on in-house programmable gate array boards.

The lectures initially support the laboratories but progress to a wider overview of the design and interaction of computer hardware systems. Ultimately a complete - if simple - computer is described.


The main aim of this course is to give students a basic understanding of the hardware which underpins computing systems.

Further aims include:

  • Introduction to basic logic and logic gates
  • Partitioning of simple systems into combinatorial and sequential blocks
  • To introduce basic CAD tools to aid in the design of a basic computer system
  • To provide an overview of hardware description languages with particular emphasis on Verilog
  • Introducing logic level implementation of a simple processor
  • Discussion of how computer systems interact with memory and I/O devices


Basic logic functions (4)

  • Combinatorial logic
  • Sequential logic

Register Transfer Level (3)

Introduction to CAD and Verilog (3)

  • The use of computer aided design to manage complex designs
  • Verilog as a hardware description language

The 'three box' computer model - CPU, Memory and I/O (1)

Processor Design (4)

  • Datapath design
  • Control
  • Optimisation

Memory (3)

  • Types of memory
  • Addressing and interfacing

Input/output (4)

  • Parallel I/O
  • Serial I/O
  • Interrupts and DMA

Teaching methods


22 in total, 2 per week


20 hours in total, 10 2-hour sessions

Feedback methods

Feedback is provided by the automated marking of submitted work. In addition, face-to-face demonstration of submitted work is undertaken for each exercise, where a demonstrator provides one-to-one feedback on the work submitted.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam (2 hours)
  • Lectures (22 hours)
  • Practical classes & workshops (20 hours)

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Problem solving

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, a student will be able to:

Learning outcomes are detailed on the COMP12111 course unit syllabus page on the School of Computer Science's website for current students.

Reading list

Principles of computer hardware Clements, Alan, 1948-9780199273133Oxford University2006.
Quick start guide to Verilog LaMeres, Brock J.,9783030105525; 3030105520; 9783030105532; 3030105539Springer[2019]
Digital design : with a introduction to the verilog hdl /Mano,M. Morris,9780132774208Pearson Prentice Hall,2011
Fundamentals of logic design Roth, Charles H., 1932-9781133628484Nelson Engineering2013.
The Verilog hardware description language /Thomas, D. E.9780387849300 (hbk.) :Springerc2008.
Digital design : with RTL design, VHDL, and Verilog Vahid, Frank.9780470531082Wileyc2011.
Computer systems architecture : a networking approach Williams, Rob.0201648598Addison-Wesleyc2001.
Computer systems architecture : a networking approach Williams, Rob, 1948-9780321340795Pearson Prentice Hall2006.

Additional notes

Course unit materials

Links to course unit teaching materials can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.