F27CS Introduction to Computer Systems

Ben KenwrightLucine Gharibian

Course co-ordinator(s): Ben Kenwright (Edinburgh), Lucine Gharibian (Dubai).


  • 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.

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:

Assessment: Examination: (weighting – 70%) Coursework (weighting – 30%)
Re-assessment: Examination: (weighting – 100%)

SCQF Level: 7.

Credits: 15.