The University of Southampton

COMP1203 Computer Systems I

Module Overview

This module aims to give students an understanding of the fundamentals of computer hardware and of the principles of operation of computers and peripheral devices. In addition, the module aims to give an overview of the main families of microprocessors and their differences. Some digital electronics is also covered - with hands-on experience in the lab with a small arm-based linux board.

Aims & Objectives


Intellectual Skills

Having successfully completed the module, you will be able to:

B1.  Describe the main components of a computer and understand their function.

B2.  Understand differences between the main architectural families and modules

B3.  Understand the basic features and functions of microcontrollers.

Subject Specific Skills

Having successfully completed the module, you will be able to:

C1.  Write simple programs in a low-level programming language (assembly)


  • Computer architecture evolution
  • Introduction to Digital Electronics
  • Computer arithmetic
  • Assembly programming
  • CPU structure
  • RISC, Superscalar Architectures
  • Buses and Interconnection
  • Memory Systems and cache
  • Input and Output. Interrupts
  • Storage systems and RAID
  • Advanced architectures
  • Introduction to Operating Systems
  • ARM Linux-based single board computers

Learning & Teaching

Learning & teaching methods

Combination of lectures, labs and self-driven reading and learning.

Computer Lab6


Assessment methods

MethodHoursPercentage contribution
Laboratory Work-25%
Exam2 hours75%

Referral Method: By examination

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