First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Engineering
Course unit
COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE (Numerosita' canale 4)
IN05122464, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course First cycle degree in
IN0507, Degree course structure A.Y. 2011/12, A.Y. 2019/20
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Degree course track Common track
Number of ECTS credits allocated 9.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE
Department of reference Department of Information Engineering
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit


Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge Degree course code

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Basic courses INF/01 Computer Science 1.0
Basic courses ING-INF/05 Data Processing Systems 8.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 9.0 72 153.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/03/2020
End of activities 12/06/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2011 course timetable

Prerequisites: Foundations of Computer Science
Target skills and knowledge: Knowledge and understanding of the main functions of a computer architecture
Knowledge and understanding of the main techniques to organize a computer architecture
Ability to develop simple assembly programs using the ARM architecture
Examination methods: The final exam consists of a written test and an oral examination. The oral examination can be replaced by passing the two intermediate tests.
Assessment criteria: Student assessment is based on the knowledge and understanding of the concepts and methodologies taught in the course, and on the ability to apply them to solve specific problems.
Course unit contents: • Representation of numeric information: representation of natural numbers, integers and rational numbers; two complement, floating point.
• Logic circuits: combinatorial and sequential circuits.
• Computer organization: datapath; main memory; control unit; arithmetic and logic unit; input/output devices.
• Computer architecture: machine instructions; addressing methods; calling subroutines; dynamic memory allocation.
• Introduction to ARM architecture: organization; coding in ARM assembly.
• Compiling a program: from source code to the executable code; compiling; assembler; linker.
• Interrupt systems: context switch; interrupt identification; external and software interrupts.
• Memory organization: cache memory; virtual memory; memory mapping and management unit (MMU); direct memory access (DMA).
• Advanced techniques for computer organization: pipelining; branch prediction; speculation; out of order execution; hardware accelerators; multicore.
• Computer performance: measuring computer performance; impact of hardware organization on performance.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course consists of lectures in the classroom and exercises in the computer laboratory. Exercises in the laboratory target the ARM architecture and some advanced concepts (e.g., interrupt, DMA, cache).
Additional notes about suggested reading: Studying material includes the adopted textbook and other documents available in Moodle (slides, ARM manuals,…).
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Stallings, William, Computer organization and architecture: designing for performance. --: Pearson education, 2015. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Laboratory
  • Working in group
  • Active quizzes for Concept Verification Tests and class discussions
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)
  • Top Hat (active quiz, quiz)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Quality Education Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure