Department of Computing, Imperial College London

Lecture Course Syllabus

Computer Architecture

18 lectures plus tutorials in the Spring Term.


To build on the foundation laid by courses on Computer Systems and Hardware; to show the relationship between hardware and software; to focus on the concepts that provide the basis for current computers.


Introduction: overview.

Instructions: formats, representations, interface with software.

Arithmetic: number representation; hardware for arithmetic operations; Arithmetic Logic Unit.

Performance: cycles per instruction, evaluation.

Datapath and control unit: single-cycle and multiple-cycle implementations; microprogramming; exception handling.

Memory hierarchy: caches, virtual memory.

Pipelining: pipelined datapaths, data and branch hazards, exceptions.

Advanced topics: hardware compilation, parallel architectures, special-purpose processors.