Course Title: Computer Architecture and Organisation

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Computer Architecture and Organisation

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


125H Electrical & Computer Engineering


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020

Course Coordinator: Dr Shaun Cloherty

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 0424

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: B012 F08 R017

Course Coordinator Availability: Please email for an appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Prerequisite: You are required to have successfully completed EEET2256 Introduction to Embedded Systems or equivalent. This is not an enforced prerequisite. 

It will be assumed that you can design and build combinatorial and sequential digital circuits, develop simple computer interfaces, and software.

It will be assumed that you have had exposure to at least one computer programming environment (e.g, EEET2246 Engineering Computing 1).

Course Description

This course builds on introductory work done in EEET2256 Introduction to Embedded Systems by closely examining the architecture and organisation, and the design and operations of microprocessors. You would be well advised to take this course if you are considering a future that would involve specification, design or low level coding of embedded systems. If you are considering majoring in computer systems engineering, this course leads on to further advanced studies such as EEET2166 Real Time Systems Engineering, EEET2162 Advanced Digital Design 1, and EEET2370 Wireless Sensor Networks and the Internet of Things, as well as courses in various application areas of computer engineering where embedded systems and real time performance are required.

Topics include: 

  • Computer instruction set architecture
  • Performance and benchmarks
  • Computer arithmetic
  • Processor organisation
  • Memory organisation and architectures
  • Parallel and multi-core processors
  • Reliability, Verification and Test

Please note that if you take this course for a bachelor honours program, your overall mark in this course will be one of the course marks that will be used to calculate the weighted average mark (WAM) that will determine your award level. (This applies to students who commence enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onwards. See the WAM information web page for more information (;ID=eyj5c0mo77631).

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

At undergraduate level, this course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs): 

1.1 Comprehensive, theory based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.

1.2 Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline. 

1.3 In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline. 

1.6 Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities, and bounds of contemporary engineering practice in the specific discipline

2.1 Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.

2.2 Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources. 

2.3 Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes. 

3.2 Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains

3.5 Orderly management of self, and professional conduct. 

On successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of inner workings of computer architecture, and processor organisation, design, implementation and performance. 
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and an appreciation of the inner workings of computer arithmetic algorithms for integers and floating-point numbers. 
  3. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of memory system organisation and architecture, and their impact on overall system performance.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of principal knowledge and issues regarding parallel and multi-core processors, as well as reliability, verification and testing associated with computer systems design and implementation. 
  5. Apply technical knowledge and skills in computer systems design, simulation, and performance analysis, evaluation and benchmarking. 

Overview of Learning Activities

Student learning occurs through the following experiences and evaluation processes:

  • A series of twelve 2 hour lectures which cover key areas of knowledge and fundamental topics in computer architecture and computer organisation (CLOs 1- 5). 
  • Completion of tutorial questions and laboratory projects which provide an introduction to software tools to design, simulate and evaluate components and modules which combined, form complete computing devices (CLOs 1, 2, 3, 5)
  • Self-directed and problem-based learning to gain knowledge and an integrated understanding of the course topics (CLOs 1-4)

Feedback to be provided throughout the semester in class and/or online discussions, through individual and group feedback on laboratory exercises and by individual consultation.

Overview of Learning Resources

You will be expected to utilise library and electronic resources (as well as any other appropriate resources) to engage in professional reading and private study of relevant material on computer architecture and organisation, as well as digital system design and simulation.

The learning resources for this course include: 

  • Lecture material prepared by the teaching staff
  • Recommended textbook and references as listed in the course guide Part B and the RMIT online teaching platform
  • You will be expected to have access to suitable computing equipment for design and simulation of digital systems. Required software (Intel Quartus Prime; LiteEdition) is freely available to download.

Overview of Assessment

☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

☐ All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Leaning & Teaching). 

Assessment in this course consists of the following components:
• Laboratory tasks and a laboratory group project,
• Tutorial quizzes throughout the semester, and
• A final test.

Assessment tasks: feedback is provided on written assignment/reports and face-to-face for anything marked in the laboratory sessions.

Assessment Task 1: Labratory Tasks (X3 tasks)
Weighting: 30% 
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 5

Assessment Task 2: Laboratory Group Project
Weighting: 35%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 and 5.

Assessment Task 3: Tutorial Quizzes
Weighting: 15%
This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.

Assessment Task 4: Final Test
Weighting: 20%
This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5