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This is an archived syllabus from 2013-2014

COMP61232 Mobile Systems syllabus 2013-2014

COMP61232 Mobile Systems

Level 6
Credits: 15
Enrolled students: 14

Course leader: Dirk Koch

Additional staff: view all staff

Assessment methods

  • 33% Written exam
  • 67% Coursework
Sem 2 P3 Lecture 2.19 Wed 11:00 - 11:00 -
Themes to which this unit belongs
  • Mobile Computing
  • Computer Science units for ACSwITM students (semester 2)


This course covers the design of low-power embedded systems based around the ARM 32-bit microprocessor core. It will be taught primarily through self-study on-line material, supported by seminars and practical exercises.

The course does not assume previous experience in logic design, but is concerned with the hardware and low-level software of mobile systems, so some interest in microprocessor architecture and System-on-Chip developments is expected.


Computing is becoming increasingly mobile, both in recognisable forms such as lap-top computers and in forms where the computing function is concealed such as digital mobile telephones. Mobile computing increases significantly the importance of minimising the power consumed by the system as excessive consumption directly compromises battery life. The aim of this course is to introduce students to the practical aspects of engineering high-performance computer systems where power consumption is a major consideration at every stage of the design. The course is heavily based around the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor, a world-leading processor for power-sensitive applications, and covers many aspects of designing power-efficient systems around ARM cores.


  • Basics of processor design.
  • Processor design trade-offs.
  • The ARM and Thumb instruction sets in outline.
  • The ARM instruction set in detail.
  • Exceptions and special instructions.
  • The Thumb instruction set in detail.
  • ARM integer cores.
  • Memory hierarchy.
  • The ARM memory management and memory protection units.
  • ARM CPUs.
  • System development.
  • On-chip buses.
  • On-chip debug.

Special Resources Needed to complete the module

The ARM CBT (computer-based training package) contains the basic course material - this is available on-line.

Access to the ARM Developer Suite (ADS) is required for the practicals and the post-course work. This runs on Windows PCs and is available on School machines. We can provide remote access to suitable School machines. Alternatively, a (limited-time) demo version may be available for part-time students wishing to take the course.

Teaching methods


1 day per week (5 weeks), but no scheduled slot - this is a self-study course.

Examples classes

Seminar sessions will be arranged during each of the 5 weeks to discuss problems, progress, etc.


The practical sessions provide hands-on experience with the ARM Developer Suite.

Feedback methods

Students are encouraged to ask questions throughout taught sessions and are given instant answers wherever possible. The teaching staff are available throughout the laboratory sessions for discussions and advice on both laboratory and topic issues.

Feedback on coursework is given as soon as possible after the work is handed in. This is provided via feedback associated with the Moodle assignment and grade system.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam (2 hours)
  • Lectures (10 hours)

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Problem solving
  • Research

Learning outcomes

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

Learning outcomes are detailed on the COMP61232 course unit syllabus page on the School of Computer Science's website for current students.

Reading list

No reading list found for COMP61232.

Additional notes

Course unit materials

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