ELEC ENG 3088 - Computer Architecture

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

This course covers the fundamental aspects of computer design. It is suitable for anyone who wants to learn how computers function in-depth and understand the trade-offs inherent in the design of computer systems. Topics covered include: 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. A variety of assessments will be undertaken during the course, including extensive use of programming assignments.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ELEC ENG 3088
    Course Computer Architecture
    Coordinating Unit School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 6 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites One of COMP SCI 1103, COMP SCI 1203, COMP SCI 2103, COMP SCI 2202 or COMP SCI 2202B
    Incompatible COMP SCI 3005
    Assessment Quizzes, Assignments, Practicals, Written exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Hong Gunn Chew

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
    1. Describe the principles and characteristics of a modern computer.
    2. Explain how computers execute software
    3. Elaborate on the effects of design decisions on computer performance and cost

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer.
    The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency: 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 2.1 2.2 3.2

    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Computer Organization & Design, RISC-V Edition, Patterson & Hennessy, MKP, ISBN 9780128122754 (print) or 9780128122761 (ebook).
    Online Learning
    Course materials are online through the MyUni website.
  • 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.

    There will be one 2-hour lecture each week covering the specified sections of the textbook. Selected exercises from the textbook will be suggested for practice, and sample solutions will be made available for reference at the end of each week.

    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 assignment involving programming work related to the textbook material.

    Collaborative learning is supported through on-line discussion forums through the MyUni website. 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.

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

    Lectures: 2 hours contact per week
    Exercises and homework problems: Approximately 2 to 3 hours per week
    Assignment: Approximately 2 to 3 hours per week
    Learning Activities Summary
    Self-directed study of the textbook for the course.

    Weekly lectures and practice exercises. Homework problems. Programming assignment.

    Course material and discussion forums available on-line.
  • 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
    • Short on-line quizzes (10%)
    • Homework problems (30%)
    • Practical assignment (30%)
    • 2hr written exam (30%)
    Assessment Related Requirements
    In order to pass, you need to get at least 40% in each of the following assessment components:
    • practical assignment
    • written exam
    Otherwise, your final mark is capped at 49 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 (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) 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.