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Syllabus for

Academic year
EDA333 - Computer system engineering
Syllabus adopted 2021-01-22 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: TKDAT
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Pass with distinction (5), Pass with credit (4), Pass (3), Fail
Education cycle: First-cycle
Major subject: Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering

Teaching language: Swedish
Application code: 49111
Open for exchange students: No
Maximum participants: 165
Only students with the course round in the programme plan

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0119 Examination 4,5c Grading: TH   4,5c   08 Oct 2021 am J  
0219 Laboratory 3,0c Grading: TH   3,0c    

In programs

TKELT ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING, Year 3 (compulsory elective)


Per Stenström

  Go to Course Homepage


General entry requirements for bachelor's level (first cycle)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Specific entry requirements

The same as for the programme that owns the course.
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Course specific prerequisites

EDA452 Introduction to computer engineering and EDA482 Machine oriented programming or equivalent courses.


The course aims to convey how a modern computer system is constructed and how its hardware modules interact with eachother and with low- level software. Performance issues are particularly emphasized, since many design decisions are made to maximize performance at a given cost, or to minimize cost at a given performance level.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  • Read and write simple assembly programs for a typical three-address register machine.
  • Identify the basic types of conflicts that occur as a result of pipelining the datapath of a processor.
  • Identify and describe simple methods to avoid and work around these conflicts, describe limitations of these simple methods, and estimate their influence on performance.
  • Use arithmetic instructions (integer and floating-point) in a correct way.
  • Describe the function and performance influence of a memory hierarchy, including caches, main memory and virtual memory, including different parameters for size, block size, and associativity.
  • Compute the performance (for simple load cases) of an I/O system, particularly one consisting of processors, buses, and hard disks.
  • Identify performance bottlenecks in such a system.
  • Explain how computer system performance is defined and measured.
  • Estimate the influence of parameter changes on system performance above.
  • Give an overview of the architecture of a multicore processor.
  • Carry out a simple co-optimization of software (at assembly level) with hardware parameters to reach the best possible cost/performance ratio for a certain system. Present the carried out work in a brief written report.


Lectures, group exercises and laborative work combine to convey basic insights into the design and functionality of a small computer system (with a processor, memory, and I/O). The main focus is on performance and on interaction with low-level software.


The course contains lectures, group exercises, and lab work using a simulator of a small computer system. The laborative part ends with a hand-in task.


Pattersson&Hennessy: "Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface". Additional material via the course homepage in PingPong

Examination including compulsory elements

Demonstration of a working solution to the hand-in task. The solution should also be presented in a brief written report in english. Written exam.

The course examiner may assess individual students in other ways than what is stated above if there are special reasons for doing so, for example if a student has a decision from Chalmers on educational support due to disability.

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.