Course Title: Systems Architecture

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Systems Architecture

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code

Campus

Career

School

Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)

ISYS1088

City Campus

Postgraduate

140H Computer Science & Information Technology

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 2 2015

ISYS1089

City Campus

Undergraduate

140H Computer Science & Information Technology

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 2 2015

Course Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Lawrence Cavedon

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2325

Course Coordinator Email: lawrence.cavedon@rmit.edu.au

Course Coordinator Location: Building 14, level 8, room 9

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment


Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

ISYS1117 Software Engineering Fundamentals (UG)

ISYS1118 Software Engineering Fundamentals (PG)


Course Description

Building large-scale software systems requires important strategic and technical decisions from the outset. The primary aims of this course are to provide a sound understanding of architecture concepts, functions, tasks and techniques, and how the systems constituent parts interact. You will be exposed to the practical aspects of architecture through the analysis of case studies and design exercises. In particular, the course introduces you to architecture principles and tactics to support development of systems that exhibit system qualities required for successful software systems, such as performance, availability, security, and maintainability. Introduced throughout are strategies for technical analysis and evaluation of candidate architectures and decisions, communicating with stakeholders, and documenting an architecture.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Program Learning Outcomes

This course contributes to the following program learning outcomes:

  • Enabling Knowledge:
    • You will gain skills as you apply knowledge with creativity and initiative to new situations. In doing so, you will recognise and use principles and methods applicable to enterprise architecture.
  • Critical Analysis:
    • You will learn to accurately and objectively examine, and critically investigate enterprise architecture concepts, evidence, theories or situations, in particular to:
    • Analyse and model complex requirements and constraints for the purpose of designing, implementing and integrating software infrastructure to deliver business-focussed IT solutions across an enterprise;
    • Critically evaluate and compare alternative software systems architectures on the basis of organisational strategy and enterprise requirements.
  • Problem Solving:
    • Your capability to analyse complex problems and synthesise suitable solutions will be extended as you learn to:
    • Design architectural solutions that address challenges in modern large-scale software systems;
    • Plan and develop solutions to deliver IT infrastructure projects in a timely and accurately estimated manner to meet organisational cost and budget constraints.
  • Communication:
    • You will learn to lead, influence and communicate effectively with a variety of audiences, in particular to:
    • Interpret identified enterprise business needs, communicate architectural decisions and strategy to meet those needs, articulate risks and benefits of those decisions to the enterprise, and choose appropriate methods of communication;
    • Influence and convince internal and external stakeholders of decisions and strategies; stakeholders including both IT and business personnel, clients and enterprise-level decision makers.
  • Team Work:
    • You will learn to work as an effective and productive team member in a range of professional and social situations, in particular to work effectively in different roles, to form, manage, and successfully produce outcomes from collaborative teams, whose members may have diverse cultural backgrounds and life circumstances, and differing levels of technical or business expertise.
  • Research and scholarship:
  • You will have technical and communication skills to design, evaluate, implement, analyse and theorise about developments that contribute to professional practice or scholarship, specifically you will have cognitive skills to demonstrate mastery of theoretical knowledge and to reflect critically on theory and professional practice or scholarship.


Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. appreciate standard architecture tactics and patterns and how to apply them appropriately to common challenges;
  2. analyse problems, consider various candidate solutions and synthesise suitable technical architectures that deliver appropriate system qualities, within specified constraints of cost and feasibility;
  3. investigate state-of-art best practice technical approaches to resolve architectural challenges such as improving performance, security and availability;
  4. effectively communicate a systems architecture, via a written report and oral presentation to different stakeholders (e.g., client, engineers) and convince them of the effectiveness of the proposed solution;
  5. work with team members to propose, discuss, and evaluate candidate architecture solutions, and produce outcomes from teams whose members come from diverse backgrounds and have differing levels of technical expertise and experience.


Overview of Learning Activities

The course will be taught face-to-face.

The main concepts will be introduced via lectures, covering issues related to Systems Architecture design, documentation and validation, based on the Stakeholders, Viewpoints and Perspectives approach to Architecture development; these include aspects of different important System Qualities (e.g., Performance, Availability, Security) and tactics for achieving them.

Guest speakers from software companies and major corporations (e.g., IBM, ANZ, and consultancies) will provide Industry perspectives on various aspects of Systems Architecture, including practical issues and challenges faced by Architects.

Tutorials/workshops will use discussion, case studies, and exercises to reinforce and illustrate the concepts. These will proceed with analysis and discussion of examples and case studies to illustrate the core topic, with groups performing analyses in order to learn how apply the core knowledge and develop their problem-solving and critical analysis skills. You may be asked to present analyses to the class, to help develop effective oral communication. Some exercises will be individual and assessed, to ensure you are provided feedback on your understanding.

A specific complex architecture team based exercise/assignment will be a running theme throughout the course. As part of a team youmay be expected to collaborate outside of workshop times. Discussion forums and other electronic tools for such communication will be provided for this purpose.

As a learner, you will be encouraged to display active listening and engagement with lecture and workshop presentations; actively participate in group discussions and contribute significantly to the analytical exercises in the workshops; and contribute appropriately to the assessable exercise(s) which may require some hours each week of study external to the workshops.

 

Total Study Hours

Teacher Guided Hours (face to face): 48 per semester

The main concepts will be introduced via lectures, covering issues related to Systems Architecture design, documentation and validation, based on the Stakeholders, Viewpoints and Perspectives approach to Architecture development.

Tutorials/labs will use discussion, case studies, and exercises to reinforce and illustrate the concepts. Some exercises will be individual and assessed, to provide feedback to students on their understanding.

Learner Directed Hours: 72 per semester

Learner-directed hours include time spent reading and studying lecture notes and prescribed readings in order to better understand the concepts; working through examples and case studies that illustrate those concepts; and performing exercises and assignments designed by the teachers to reinforce concepts and develop practical skills across a variety of problem types. Major Assignments will provide the opportunity for you to develop practical skills working at tasks performed by Architects, including working in teams to jointly solve problems and develop effective communication skills and strategies. Individual Exercises are designed to provide specific feedback on your progress in understanding core concepts of the course.


Overview of Learning Resources

A prescribed textbook and other references will be provided, and students will be expected to refer to these. Other references, articles, and pointers to materials will be provided via myRMIT. Any software required for the performance of exercises and assignments will be installed for access on RMIT servers and/or available for installation on personal computers/laptops.


Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

 

Assessment tasks

 

Assessment Task 1: A series of 2 tutorial-style exercises to be performed individually, each focused on a specific Architecture topic

Weighting 5%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3

Assessment Task 2: Major assignment, to be performed in a team, to design an end-to-end system architecture for a realistic problem; to be submitted in multiple parts

Weighting 25%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Assessment Task 3: Second assignment, to be performed in a team, to extend and/or evaluate the architecture from Task 2

Weighting 10%

This assessment task supports CLO 1, 2, 3, 5

Assessment Task 4: Class presentation: to present architecture designed in Task 2

Weighting 5%  

This assessment supports CLOs 4

Assessment Task 5: A series of up to 3 class tests to be performed individually, each focused on a specific Architecture topic

Weighting 10%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3

Assessment Task 6: A final written exam, designed to provide a comprehensive analysis of students’ understanding of core concepts introduced in the course.

Weighting 45%

This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2, 3

Please note that postgraduate students are expected to demonstrate knowledge and skills at postgraduate level.