Computer Systems Architecture


As technology
develops, it is important to have a working foundation on which to build your
knowledge. Despite hardware and software being constantly updated and seemingly
becoming more complex, students with a solid, underpinned knowledge about
computer systems architecture will not only be able to answer questions like, “How
does a central processor work?”, “What does an operating system do?”, “How is information
stored?”, “What is an instruction set?” and “How do I actually connect to the
internet?”, but will also be able to transfer and apply their knowledge and
skill to many other areas.

This unit introduces
students to the foundations of computer systems architecture together with the
integrated hardware and software components and subsystems that enable and
allow data to be input, processed and output. The unit further explores the
concepts of operating systems, hardware management and computer networks
together with the practical skills needed to diagnose, troubleshoot and maintain
computer systems taking the security of these systems into consideration.

Among the topics
included in this unit are: CPUs, memory, input & output devices, ALU
operations, program execution, operating systems (including kernel, file
systems, API and system calls), hardware management, installation, firmware,
device drivers, networking (including OSI and TCP/IP models), error and
information gathering, fault diagnostics, security and problem resolution.

On successful
completion of this unit, students will be able to explain the purpose and role
of operating systems, the relationship between the subsystems embedded within a
central processing unit, the core hardware and software components associated with
computer operations and be able to configure the hardware and systems needed to
establish a computer network together with practical diagnostic and troubleshooting
techniques. As a result they will develop skills such as communication literacy,
critical thinking, analysis, reasoning and interpretation which are crucial for
gaining employment and developing academic competence.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit students
will be able to:

LO1 Explain the relationships
between hardware components and the subsystems used in a computer system.

LO2 Categorise the key features
and services provided by different computer operating systems and hardware.

LO3 Use network communication
technology and the associated services to connect computer systems.

LO4 Demonstrate diagnostic and
troubleshooting skills to solve hardware, software and networking
related issues.

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