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Syllabus for

Academic year
EDA330 - Computer system engineering
Owner: TDATA
4,0 Credits (ECTS 6)
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Level: A
Department: 0735 - Computer engineering

Teaching language: Swedish

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 No Sp
0199 Examination 3,0 c Grading: TH   3,0 c   24 May 2004 pm M,  15 Jan 2004 am M,  21 Aug 2004 am V
0299 Laboratory 1,0 c Grading: UG   1,0 c    

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For single subject courses within Chalmers programmes the same eligibility requirements apply, as to the programme(s) that the course is part of.

Course specific prerequisites

Basic knowledge corresponding to the course Fundamentals of Digital Systems and Computer Engineering (EDA290 or EDA310) is expected.


Provide and understanding for the design of current computer components, e.g., processors, memories, and standard buses.
* Show how a modern computer can be built using these components.
* Provide a fundamental understanding of how a computer's performance can be measured and controlled by varying design choices.
* Show how processors, memories, and other computer components interact with software in a computer system.
* Give some practical experience of the design of computer systems.


This course builds on previous courses that cover the fundamentals of digital systems and computer engineering, and presents the computer both as a component of technical systems and as a component in its own right. With a focus on the hardware/software interface and performance issues, it presents modern techniques used in the design of computer systems. This includes processor implementation techniques such as pipelining, memory system design techniques such as caching and virtual memory, hardware/software interface issues for I/O, and standards and performance issues for buses. The basics of computer architecture including the use and design of instruction sets for moderna microprocessors, basic methods for analysis and measurement of performance, some techniques for implementation of computer arithmetic, and implementation technology trends are also covered.

The following main topics are discussed:

  • Computer abstractions. Computer applications. Compilers and operating systems. Computer components. Integrated circuits. Some historical perspective.

  • Measuring and comparing computer performance.

  • Instruction sets, operations and operands. Instruction formats. Machine instructions and high-level constructs.

  • Computer arithmetic. Data representation. Basic arithmetic and logical operations. Arithmetic Logic Unit. Handling floating point numbers.

  • The internals of microprocessors. Data path and control. Implementation schemes. Microprogramming. Exceptions.

  • Pipelining. Pipeline hazards. Performance of pipelined microprocessors. Modern microprocessors.

  • Memory systems. The principle of locality. Memory hierarchies. The basics of caches and virtual memory.

  • Input/Output. I/O performance measures. I/O devices. Networks and buses. Interfacing I/O devices to the memory, processor and operating system.

  • Introduction to multiprocessors. Classification. Programming. Network topologies. Shared memory.


  • Lectures. Introduces the various topics of the course.

  • Group exercises. Individual work on exercises assisted by teachers.

  • Laboratory exercises. The students experiment with computer equipment and simulators and work on a practical project to get experience in design and analysis of computer systems.


D.A. Patterson, J.L. Hennessy: Computer organization and design: The hardware/software interface, second edition. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 1997.


Demonstration of a working solution to the practical project. The solution should also be presented in a written report. Written examination.

Page manager Published: Thu 03 Nov 2022.