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This is an archived syllabus from 2013-2014

COMP19512 Introduction to Computer Systems (ITMB) syllabus 2013-2014

COMP19512 Introduction to Computer Systems (ITMB)

Level 1
Credits: 10
Enrolled students: 29

Course leader: Richard Neville

Additional staff: view all staff

Assessment methods

  • 80% Written exam
  • 20% Coursework
Sem 2 Lecture LF15 Thu 09:00 - 09:00 -


This course unit introduces the concepts involved in Introduction to Computer Systems. Its aim is to enable the student to develop the skills required to comprehend Introduction to Computer Systems, be they terminology, models, methodologies, structures (or topologies), timing, number representation and a general introduction to basic computer systems.

This unit builds on the skills developed in your background, covering material that will enable students to comprehend basic computer architecture structures and topologies. In particular, students will be able to comprehend the basic of computer systems.


This course unit introduces the hardware and software architecture of computer systems. The main aim of the course unit is to provide students with basic information about program execution, system software and communications in order to provide a suitable background for course units that focus on the development of software. The course unit also aims to foster an interest in computer architecture and system software that will allow students to make informed decisions about the specification of such systems.


  1. Introduction: Some Basic Definitions;

  2. Representation of integers in a computer system: Bits, Bytes and Integers.

  3. Conversion: Converting between number systems in a computer system;

  4. Binary Arithmetic: Addition and Subtraction with signed and unsigned integers.

  5. A Simple Computer System (1): Introduction to the Little Man Computer;

  6. A Simple Computer System (2): Little Man Computer (Basic Instructions and simple program(s)).

  7. Memory (1): The Processor?s relationship with Primary Memory;

  8. Memory (2): Types of Primary Memory.

  9. Secondary Memory: The memory hierarchy; & Disks;

  10. Input/Output: Controlling Input and Output.

  11. Operating Systems (1): Overview; Components; & Processes;

  12. Operating Systems (2): Processes cont...

  13. Networks (1): Physical Communication; Data Transmission Protocols; & Network Topologies;

  14. Networks (2): LAN Protocols; WANs; The Internet; & Protocol Layers.

Teaching methods


For full information Link to additional information: Blackboard select: COMP19512 Introduction to Computer Systems @

Feedback methods

Feedback is provided to students in alignment with good pedagogic practice and pedagogic assessment [criterion]; the feedback takes the Kinesthetic approach to learning. Two approaches, #1 and #2, illustrate how to develop the student's skills aligned to the course; such as: theory, process, academic, reading, comprehension, exam skills. The first uses a more reading/writing-preference learner's approach #1. The second, approach #2, uses the visual learning strategy.
The feedback is given: one-to-one and one-to-many. The feedback is given (if time allows) at the start (in the break, & the end) of: lectures, examples classes (if applicable), and laboratories. One-to-one feedback is also given - marked up - in each of the anonymous scripts of the student's exam booklets. One-to-many is also given in a cohort wide exam feedback compiled jointly by all course member whom lecture on the course and mark exams.
Feedback, hints, advice, and extra information also appear on the course's CS web site, courses CS web site, & the universities Blackboard web site. RN also provides real time video multimedia support for all the course's he lectures on; these are composed of video lectures, video tutorials and many associated material designed to help, broaden, and inform the student cohort of possible: approaches, techniques, and learning strategies that will aid and enhance their learning.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam (2 hours)
  • Lectures (24 hours)


  • Understand how the basic data types of High Level Languages are stored and processed by Computer Systems.
  • Identify the basic components of a computer system and understand their functionality and relationships.
  • Understand the function and basic organisation of operating systems and the system software used in software development (compilers, assemblers, etc.).
  • Explain the basic mechanisms involved in computer networking and communication.
  • Comment on selected design issues in modern computer systems.

Intellectual skills

  • Apply quantitative approaches to the evaluation of some basic aspects of computer system performance.
  • Apply arithmetic and logical operations to scalar data types.

Practical skills

  • Develop very basic programs in assembly language for a simple processor.

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Group/team working
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Leadership
  • Project management
  • Oral communication
  • Problem solving
  • Research
  • Written communication

Learning outcomes

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

Learning outcomes are detailed on the COMP19512 course unit syllabus page on the School of Computer Science's website for current students.

Reading list

No reading list found for COMP19512.

Additional notes

Course unit materials

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

Extra materials will be provided on YouTube & SkyDrive. These take the form of real time video multimedia taken from many of the lectures designed to help and inform the student of possible approaches, techniques, and learning strategies that will aid and enhance their learning.