Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), University of Southampton

Electronics and Computer Science (ECS)

ELEC2013: Computer Systems Engineering


To give an understanding of modern processor architecture.

Module Details

Title: Computer Systems Engineering
Code: ELEC2013

Credits: ECTS credits
Taught in:

Aims and Objectives

the RISC and CISC design philosophies how the major components of a CPU can be built up from basic gates the architecture and detailed operation of a simple RISC the use of pipelining and caching to improve performance, and their attendant pitfalls.


Introduction Overview Conventional computer organisation Performance Benchmarks Arithmetic and ALUs Revision of integer arithmetic Constructing an ALU Multiplication and division Floating point arithmetic. Processor Implementations CPU operation in detail Datapath construction Controller construction Microprogramming Pipelining Implementing a datapath pipeline Pipeline controller Pipeline hazards Performance issues Instruction Sets and Addressing Operations and operands Representation of instructions Addressing modes Special-purpose instructions RISC vs CISC Memory Systems Memory organisation Caches Virtual memory Performance issues I/O Interfacing I/O device characteristics Buses and bus arbitration Processor/OS interface DMA

Learning and Teaching

  • Lecture - 36 hours per semester
  • Specialist Lab - hours per semester


  • 25% - Microprocesssor Interfacing. Frequency: 3
  • 75% - Exam, 2 hour(s)

Referral policy: By examination, with the original coursework mark being carried forward


Core textbooks
Resource type: Core textbook

Patterson D. A. and Hennessy J. L. Computer Organization and Design, Revised Fourth Edition: The Hardware/Software Interface, 4th Edition, Morgan Kaufmann 2011

Resource type: Core textbook

Patterson D. A. and Hennessy J. L. Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface, 2nd, 3rd or 4th Edition, Morgan Kaufmann 1998, 2004 or 2008 (These books may be available cheaper and all cover much of the core material).

Other resource requirements:
Resource type: Background textbook

W. Stallings, Computer Organization and Architecture, 6th edition, Prentice Hall 2003

Resource type: Background textbook

Tanenbaum A S, Structured Computer Organization 4th edition, Prentice-Hall, 1999