Module Details

CE161-4-AU-CO: Fundamentals Of Digital Systems

Year: 2017/18
Department: Computer Science and Electronic Engineering
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Dr Francisco Sepulveda
Teaching Staff: Dr Francisco Sepulveda
Contact details: School office, email: csee-schooloffice (non-Essex users should add to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

The aim of this module is to introduce the essential hardware and low level software components of a digital computer system. The operation of these components is explored problem solving classes.

Upon completion of this module, students should have a good conceptual and practical understanding of the nature and architecture of a digital computer system.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this module, students will be expected to be able to:

1. Understand the nature and architecture of a digital computer.
2. Identify and explain the purpose and principles of operation of the components of a computer system.
3. Explain the principles and purpose of an operating system.
4. Interpret and manipulate binary representations of data, including two's complement.
5. Design and understand simple logic circuits built from standard logic gates.

Outline Syllabus

. Introduction to computer automatic theory
. Brief history of computer systems
. System architecture
. Peripherals and buses
. Processor architecture
. Computer system operation
. Input/Output devices
. Hardware components of a computer system
. Introduction to operating systems

Learning and Teaching Methods

Lecturers and Laboratories


40 per cent Coursework Mark, 60 per cent Exam Mark


Progress Test (MCQ) worth 20% held in week 4. Progress Test (MCQ) worth 20% held in week 11. A mandatory Moodle quiz will also be held in week 3.

Exam Duration and Period

2:00 during Christmas vacation.

Other information



  • Required Reading
  • STALLINGS, W., 'Computer Organization and Architecture - Designing for Performance', 9th Ed., International Edition, Pearson Educ., 2013.
  • Supplementary Reading
  • CLEMENTS, A., 'The Principles of Computer Hardware', Oxford University Press, 2006, 4th edition.