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

Course Coordinator: Dr. John Q. Fang

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2432

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 105.9.7C

Course Coordinator Availability: Please email for an appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Prerequisite: Introduction to Embedded Systems or equivalent.

It will be assumed that you can design and build combinatorial and sequential digital circuits, that you can develop simple computer interfaces and that you can develop embedded software using assembler and cross-compilation.

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

Course Description

This course builds on introductory work done in Introduction to Embedded Systems by more closely analysing the detailed operation of the microprocessor itself. 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, this course leads on to the study of embedded operating systems, real-time embedded systems and advanced microprocessor systems in 4th year.
Specific Topics:

* Reading technical documentation.
* Computer systems
* Microcontrollers:
        o Microcontroller concepts
        o Programming of microcontrollers
        o Interfacing of microcontrollers
* Embedded system design
* Embedded Systems Performance
        o Pipelining
        o Cache concepts
* Testability and design for Test.
* FPGA implementation

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

As part of this course, you will develop:

  • Techical skills in embedded systems design and performance.
  • Teamwork and leadership skills through project work that utilises the technical capabilities as developed in this course.
  • Communication skills through report writing and group presentation of the project work.
  • Life-long skills for information management by learning to make efficient use of the wide variety of on-line resources to find answers to specific and general technical questions. In particular you will be able to apply “general” microcontroller concepts to specific unfamiliar microcontrollers through use of data sheets.

On successful completion of this course, you will have developed technical competence and problem solving skills by being able to:

  • use technical documentation to make comparisons between various microcontrollers and to make professional decisions about which to use for given scenarios and constraints;
  • discuss and compare key aspects of computer architecture such as CPU families, memory technologies, the standard computer buses (such as ISA, PC104, PCI, PCMCIA, CardBus, CF and AGP), and IO Buses (eg USB, IEE1394 etc)
  • use existing microcontroller systems to implement embedded systems to solve real-world scenarios.
  • design and implement microcontroller systems.
  • use programmable or reconfigurable devices (FPGAs) etc to implement embedded systems or sub systems.
  • appropriately design embedded systems as systems of subsystems such that they are correct, efficient, reliable, economic and testable.
  • research, discuss and adapt to emerging technologies in computer systems.

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning Style

Through construction of a prototype microcontroller system, you will gain experience in system design, coding and testing. You will become competent in the use of basic embedded design tools.

Overview of Learning Resources

  • Lecture Notes (as part of course learning guide) prepared by the Teaching staff.
  • Recommended reference books: See the course guide available at the start of classes.
  • You will be advantaged by access to suitable computing equipment for system development. Required software will be made available where possible.
  • Relevant embedded equipment and software will be made available in laboratories and for loan where possible.
  • Course content will made available on-line: see your EEET2261 area on "myRMIT"

Overview of Assessment

The assessment tasks include laboratory exercises, group project and final examination.