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Computer Systems


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 7
  • Module convenor and tutor: Jan Hidders
  • Assessment: a two-hour written examination and coursework exercises (90% and 10% weighting respectively)

Module description

This module teaches the basics of computer architecture and organisation, and the role and mechanism of operating systems.


  • Introduction: Computer architecture (CA) and Operating system (OS) overview
  • Processors
  • Processes and threads
  • Concurrency
  • Memory management
  • I/O and file systems
  • Protection and security
  • Distributed and parallel processing

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • understand what computers do and how they achieve this
  • understand the complexity of computer systems
  • use different levels of abstraction that are needed for distinguishing between policy and mechanism, efficiency and fairness, centralised and distributed approaches, static and dynamic phenomena
  • understand the basic paradigms for designing computer systems and how design influences performance
  • understand the dynamic nature of processes and use algorithms for scheduling, synchronisation, communication, allocation
  • use your knowledge of the principles of computer systems for clear design and efficient implementation of larger applications
  • use your experience with specific computer organisations and operating systems to enhance your ability to work in IT.