School of Computer Science

Module 06-21933 (2012)

Fundamentals: Intro to Computer Science

Level 4/M C

Steven Vickers Semester 1 10 credits
Co-ordinator: Steven Vickers
Reviewer: John Barnden

The Module Description is a strict subset of this Syllabus Page.


The aims of this module are to:

  • Introduce the main hardware components of a computer and their function
  • Explain the role of an operating system and system software

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamentals of computer hardware and software architectures
  • Explain basic functions of computer operating systems
  • Describe common computer network architectures
  • Understand and use aspects of the Java virtual machine

Teaching methods

2 hrs lectures/tutorials per week


  • Sessional: 1.5 hour examination (90%), continuous assessment (10%)
  • Supplementary: 1.5 hour examination only (100%)

Detailed Syllabus

  1. A brief history of the development of the Stored-Program Digital Computer. The von Neumann computer.
  2. Computer Hardware Organisation (Central Processing Unit, Primary and Secondary Memory, Input/Output devices).
  3. Instruction sets (CISC, RISC); Instruction execution cycles; Memory addressing modes; Interrupts.
  4. System Software (Compilers, Interpreters, Assemblers, Loaders)
  5. Operating Systems basic functions (Device Management, Process Management, Memory Management)
  6. Scheduling and Synchronization.
  7. Networks (Topology, Security).
  8. Computability, complexity and correctness.

Programmes containing this module