COMP SCI 3005 - Computer Architecture

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

Fundamentals of computer design; quantifying cost and performance; instruction set architecture; program behaviour and measurement of instruction set use; processor datapaths and control; pipelining, handling pipeline hazards; memory hierarchies and performance; I/O devices, controllers and drivers; I/O and system performance.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code COMP SCI 3005
    Course Computer Architecture
    Coordinating Unit School of Computer Science
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 2.5 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites One of COMP SCI 1007, COMP SCI 1009, COMP SCI 1103, COMP SCI 1203, COMP SCI 2103 or COMP SCI 2202
    Assumed Knowledge COMP SCI 2000
    Course Description Fundamentals of computer design; quantifying cost and performance; instruction set architecture; program behaviour and measurement of instruction set use; processor datapaths and control; pipelining, handling pipeline hazards; memory hierarchies and performance; I/O devices, controllers and drivers; I/O and system performance.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Peter Ashenden

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    To develop an understanding of
    • How a modern computer works
    • How it supports execution of software
    • How design alternatives affect performance and cost
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1,2,3
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1,2,3
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 3
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1,2,3
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Computer Organization & Design, 5th Edition, Patterson & Hennessy, MKP, 2013
    Online Learning
    Course materials are online at the School of Computer Science's Moodle web site.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Students are expected to engage in self-directed learning from the textbook for the course and related resources. Guidance will be provided, specifying sections of the textbook to be studied in each week of the semester. In addition, pre-recorded lectures covering the material are available.

    There will be one 2-hour problem solving workshop each week, with problems based on the specified sections of the textbook. Students are encouraged to attend. Sample solutions will be made available for reference after each workshops.

    Homework problems based on the specified sections of the textbook will be set throughout the semester. Students will be required to submit solutions for assessment.

    There will be a practical assignments involving programming work related to the textbook material.

    Collaborative learning is supported through on-line discussion forums on the School of Computer Science's Moodle web site. Teaching staff will participate in the discussion forums.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    • Workshops: 2 hours contact per week, plus associated preparation and review
    • Homework problems: Approximately 2 hours per week
    • Assignments: Approximately 2 to 3 hours per week
    Learning Activities Summary
    Self-directed study of the textbook for the course.

    Weekly problem solving workshops. Homework problems. Programming assignments.

    Course material and discussion forums available on the School of Computer Science's Moodle web site (
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Not applicable
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    The final mark for the course will be determined from
    • Quizzes during problem-solving workshops (10%)
    • Homework problems (30%)
    • Practical assignments (30%)
    • 2hr written exam (30%)
    Assessment Related Requirements
    In order to pass, you need to get at least 40% in two out of three of the following assessment components:
    • homework problems
    • practical assignments
    • written exam
    Otherwise, your final mark is capped at 44 F
    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.


    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.