F27CS Introduction to Computer Systems

Dr Adam SampsonHeba El-Shimy

Course co-ordinator(s): Dr Adam Sampson (Edinburgh), Heba El-Shimy (Dubai), John See (Malaysia).


  • To introduce students to modern computer systems architecture
  • To give students an appreciation of logical design and data representation

Detailed Information

Course Description: Link to Official Course Descriptor.

Pre-requisites: none.

Location: ALP, Dubai, Edinburgh, Malaysia.

Semester: 2.


  • Overview
  • Hardware components - peripherals, memory & CPU.
  • Boolean algebra.
  • Low-level information representation.
  • CPU organisation.
  • Introductory assembly language programming.
  • Operating system: I/O; interrupts; scheduler; virtual memory; file system.
  • Concurrency: processes; threads; synchronisation; shared & distributed memory; distributed & parallel architectures.
  • Language processors: compiler; interpreter; assembler; loader.
  • Linux shell scripting
  • History of Computing

Learning Outcomes: Subject Mastery

Understanding, Knowledge and Cognitive Skills Scholarship, Enquiry and Research (Research-Informed Learning)

  • Overview of hardware/software hierarchy in contemporary computer systems;
  • Understanding of purpose and function of major system hardware and software components;
  • Understanding of information representation in computer systems;
  • Ability to write Linux shell scripting
  • Familiarity of the History of Computing

Learning Outcomes: Personal Abilities

Industrial, Commercial & Professional Practice Autonomy, Accountability & Working with Others Communication, Numeracy & ICT

  • To be able to express arguments/problems in propositional and predicate calculus.
  • To be able to communicate in using formal notations

Assessment Methods: Due to covid, assessment methods for Academic Year 2021/22 may vary from those noted on the official course descriptor. Please see:
- Maths (F1) Course Weightings 2021/22
- Computer Science (F2) Course Weightings 2021/22
- AMS (F7) Course Weightings 2021/22

SCQF Level: 7.

Credits: 15.