Course Title: Computer Architecture

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Computer Architecture

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Please note that this course may have compulsory in-person attendance requirements for some teaching activities.

To participate in any RMIT course in-person activities or assessment, you will need to comply with RMIT vaccination requirements which are applicable during the duration of the course. This RMIT requirement includes being vaccinated against COVID-19 or holding a valid medical exemption.

Please read this RMIT Enrolment Procedure as it has important information regarding COVID vaccination and your study at RMIT:

Please read the Student website for additional requirements of in-person attendance:

Please check your Canvas course shell closer to when the course starts to see if this course requires mandatory in-person attendance. The delivery method of the course might have to change quickly in response to changes in the local state/national directive regarding in-person course attendance.


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


130T Vocational Engineering


Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 1 2016


City Campus


174T School of VE Engineering, Health & Science


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2021


City Campus


520T Future Technologies


Sem 1 2022

Course Coordinator: Program Manager

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 4468

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 57.5.17

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course covers the fundamentals of computer hardware and software as well as advanced concepts such as security, networking, and the responsibilities of an ICT professional. The course emphasizes the practical application of skills and procedures needed to install and upgrade hardware and software and troubleshoot systems.

The course covers the state of the art computer architectures: RISC, Super Scalar, VLIW; Thread-level parallelism; Multi-core and Multi-CPU systems; Interconnection networks, Smart Devices, Virtualization, Clusters, Grid and Internet computing.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):
2.1 Application of established technical and practical methods to the solution of well- defined engineering problems.
2.2 Application of technical and practical techniques, tools and resources to well defined engineering problems.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

Upon successful completion of the course, you should be able to:

1. Define information technology (IT) and describe the components and operation of modern and high performance computers, laptops and mobile devices and their applications.
2. Describe how to protect people, equipment, and environments from accidents, damage, and contamination and follow safe workplace procedures.
3. Perform a step-by-step assembly of a desktop computer and install and navigate an operating system including the installation and upgrade of hardware and peripheral components based on customer needs.
4. Configure computers to connect to an existing network, experiment with network designs and configurations and implement basic security principles.
5. Apply good communications skills and professional behaviour to assess customer needs, analyse possible configurations, and provide solutions or recommendations for hardware, operating systems, networking, and security.
6. Use preventive maintenance and effective troubleshooting processes using hands-on labs and virtual learning tools.

Overview of Learning Activities

In this course you will learn through the following activities:
1. Face to Face teaching: an introduction to computer architecture, personal computers and peripheral devices

2. Personal reading (eg. research on the Internet and prescribed sections of the textbook): to consolidate your understanding of principles and applications of computer systems

3. Laboratory exercises: you need to complete lab exercises individually or in a group. Participation in team based learning will be helpful, however specific exercises must be completed individually

4. Tests: assessed during semester. Solutions will be discussed in class to give you feedback. The test provides information both to you and the lecturer about progress and the feedback will help you improve your performance in the final examination.

5. Simulation, Videos, and Lab sessions: To understand the key concepts, practical applications and how to troubleshoot problems, you are encouraged to watch videos on special topics available in the Carlton library. The lab work will allow you to develop skills in analysing and troubleshooting computer systems
6. Classroom activities:
Lectures: to introduce the important concepts
• Attending lectures will make it much easier for you to understand the central concepts of the course
• You will feel more comfortable and you will learn more if you read the relevant material before you attend the lectures
  Tutorials: to enable you to ask questions and to clarify unresolved issues
• Review the material and prepare your questions before you come to class
• There will be an overview of course content with a focus on the material students find difficult
• If something is unclear or if you find yourself falling behind please ask for help immediately
• You may be given worksheets to complete during the tutorial
7.Lab exercises: to give you the hands on experience of implementing and troubleshooting computers
• In general there will be one practical exercise per week
• You will perform the exercise
8. Work simulated activities: you will progressively implement a scenario as you would be expected to do in industry.
• You will be expected to work on a scenario progressively as you learn the material required for you to be able to do so.
• Leaving the work to a late stage and then rushing to complete it is bad industrial practice. It will be strongly discouraged and marked down heavily. You will be expected to meet progressive milestones in the completion of this activity.
9.Occupational Health and Safety:
• Conduct in lecture theatres, classrooms and laboratories will be of a standard required by OH&S legislation as applied to industry.
• You must behave in such a way as not to place the health and safety of yourself or anyone else at risk
• Covered shoes must be worn in all labs
• Thongs and sandals must not be worn in any lab

10.Preparation for the Work place:
All skills and knowledge in this course are oriented towards current industry practices and technologies. An essential industry expectation is that you are responsible for your behaviour and actions. When you are in employment you will be expected to attend work on time on a regular basis, perform you work on time to an acceptable standard and be responsible for what you do. Industry will expect you to comprehend and follow both verbal and written instructions. All industry expectations will be applied to you in this course.
You will be expected to:
• Observe all Occupational Health and Safety requirements
• You must behave in such a way as not to place the health and safety of yourself or anyone else at risk
• Prepare for classes
• Attend all classes regularly and on time
• Use your class time in a productive and responsible way• Finish your work on time to an accepted standard
• Pay attention to, comprehend and follow both verbal and written instructions.
• It is your personal responsibility to be aware of course requirements and timelines
• Please ask if something is not clear
The Preparation for the Workplace component will be an essential part of the assessment for this course. It will be included in the assessment of the practical and work simulated activities.

11.Activities Outside of Class:
It is expected that students allocate at least 60% of course hours for reading, independent study, project research, design, implementation, testing and problem solving activities.


Overview of Learning Resources

You will be able to access course information and learning materials through the Learning Hub and will be provided with copies of additional materials in class.Lists of relevant reference texts, resources in the library and freely accessible Internet sites will be provided.You will also use laboratory equipment and computer software within the School during project and assignment work.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment 1: Early Assessment Task 

Weighting towards final grade (%): 10% 
Assessment 1 assesses the following learning outcomes: 
Assessment 2: Practical Laboratory Test 1 
Weighting towards final grade (%): 25% 
Assessment 2 assesses the following learning outcomes: 
CLO- 1,2,3 


Assessment 3: Practical Laboratory Test 2 
Weighting towards final grade: 25% 
Assessment 3 assesses the following learning outcomes: 
CLO- 1,2,3,4,5,6 


Assessment 4: Final Assessment 
Assessment 4 assesses the following learning outcomes: 
Weighting towards final grade: 40%