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This is an archived syllabus from 2013-2014

COMP25212 System Architecture syllabus 2013-2014

COMP25212 System Architecture

Level 2
Credits: 10
Enrolled students: 120

Course leader: Javier Navaridas-Palma

Additional staff: view all staff


  • Pre-Requisite (Compulsory): COMP15111
  • Pre-Requisite (Compulsory): COMP25111

Assessment methods

  • 80% Written exam
  • 20% Practical skills assessment
Sem 2 Lecture 1.1 Mon 12:00 - 12:00 -
Sem 2 Lecture 1.1 Thu 14:00 - 14:00 -
Sem 2 B Lab LF31 Thu 11:00 - 11:00 H
Sem 2 B Lab G23 Fri 13:00 - 13:00 I
Sem 2 B Lab G23 Thu 15:00 - 15:00 G
Themes to which this unit belongs
  • Computer Architecture


The basic architecture of computer systems has been covered in first year course units which detailed both the instruction set architecture and the micro-architecture (hardware structure) of simple processors. Although these principle underlie the vast majority of modern computers, there are a wide range of both hardware and software techniques which are employed to increase the performance, reliability and flexibility of systems.


The aims of this course are to introduce the most important system architecture approaches. To give a wider understanding of how real systems operate and, from that understanding, the ability to optimise their use.



The motivation behind advanced architectural techniques.


The need to overcome latency. Caching as a principle, examples of caching in practice. Processor cache structure and operation.


Principles of pipelining. Implementation of a processor pipeline and its properties. Pipelining requirements and limitations. Additional support for pipelining.


Basic multi-threading principles. Processor support for multi-threading. Simultaneous multi-threading.


Motivation for multi-core. Possible multi-core structures. Cache coherence.

File System Support

Implementation of file systems. RAID

Virtual Machines

Motivation for Virtual Machines. Language Virtual Machines. System Virtual Machines. Virtual Machine implementation. Binary Translation

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam (2 hours)
  • Lectures (24 hours)
  • Practical classes & workshops (12 hours)

Learning outcomes

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

Learning outcomes are detailed on the COMP25212 course unit syllabus page on the School of Computer Science's website for current students.

Reading list

Computer organization and design : the hardware/software interface [electronic resource] Patterson, David A.,9780128226742 (ePub ebook) :Morgan Kaufmann2020.
Virtual machines : versatile platforms for systems and processes Smith, James E. (James Edward), 1950-0080525407Morgan Kaufmann Publishers2005

Additional notes

Course unit materials

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