Mobile and Energy Efficient Systems

Unit code: COMP61232
Credit Rating: 15
Unit level: Level 6
Teaching period(s): Semester 2
Offered by School of Computer Science
Available as a free choice unit?: Y




Computing is becoming increasingly mobile, both in recognisable forms such as lap-top computers and in forms where the computing function is concealed such as digital mobile telephones. Mobile computing increases significantly the importance of minimising the power consumed by the system as excessive consumption directly compromises battery life. The aim of this course is to introduce students to the practical aspects of engineering high-performance computer systems where power consumption is a major consideration at every stage of the design. The course is heavily based around the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor, a world-leading processor for power-sensitive applications, and covers many aspects of designing power-efficient systems around ARM cores.


This popular course examines modern mobile communications systems and how they work. The taught material covers all the network from applications though to the wireless physical layer with an emphasis on how mobility is supported and network architecture features specific to mobile systems. The laboratories exposes students to a full industrial quality communications simulation package and then to writing an Android App using socket layer programming and various error detection and correction techniques.

Teaching and learning methods


1 day per week (5 weeks), but no scheduled slot - this is a self-study course.

Examples classes

Seminar sessions will be arranged during each of the 5 weeks to discuss problems, progress, etc.


The practical sessions provide hands-on experience with the ARM Developer Suite.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes are detailed on the COMP61232 course unit syllabus page on the School of Computer Science's website for current students.

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Problem solving
  • Research

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 50%
  • Written assignment (inc essay) - 50%


  • Basics of processor design.
  • Processor design trade-offs.
  • The ARM and Thumb instruction sets in outline.
  • The ARM instruction set in detail.
  • Exceptions and special instructions.
  • The Thumb instruction set in detail.
  • ARM integer cores.
  • Memory hierarchy.
  • The ARM memory management and memory protection units.
  • ARM CPUs.
  • System development.
  • On-chip buses.
  • On-chip debug.

Special Resources Needed to complete the module

The ARM CBT (computer-based training package) contains the basic course material - this is available on-line.

Access to the ARM Developer Suite (ADS) is required for the practicals and the post-course work. This runs on Windows PCs and is available on School machines. We can provide remote access to suitable School machines. Alternatively, a (limited-time) demo version may be available for part-time students wishing to take the course.

Recommended reading

COMP61232 reading list can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.

Feedback methods

Students are encouraged to ask questions throughout taught sessions and are given instant answers wherever possible. The teaching staff are available throughout the laboratory sessions for discussions and advice on both laboratory and topic issues.

Feedback on coursework is given as soon as possible after the work is handed in. This is provided via feedback associated with the Moodle assignment and grade system.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam - 2 hours
  • Lectures - 10 hours
  • Independent study hours - 138 hours

Teaching staff

Dirk Koch - Unit coordinator

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