Computer Science (3 Years) [BSc]

Fundamentals of Computer Engineering

Unit code: COMP12111
Credit Rating: 10
Unit level: Level 1
Teaching period(s): Semester 1
Offered by School of Computer Science
Available as a free choice unit?: Y



Additional Requirements

Students who are not from the School of Computer Science must have permission from both Computer Science and their home School to enrol.


The main aim of this course is to give students a basic understanding of the hardware which underpins computing systems.

Further aims include:

  • Introduction to basic logic and logic gates
  • Partitioning of simple systems into combinatorial and sequential blocks
  • To introduce basic CAD tools to aid in the design of a basic computer system
  • To provide an overview of hardware description languages with particular emphasis on Verilog
  • Introducing logic level implementation of a simple processor
  • Discussion of how computer systems interact with memory and I/O devices


In this course you will learn about the design of digital electronic systems from simple digital circuits to the design of a simple processor. The exercises undertaken in laboratories complement the material covered in lectures. Professional commercial software tools are used in laboratories to enter designs and simulate their behaviour.

Teaching and learning methods


22 in total, 2 per week


20 hours in total, 10 2-hour sessions

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes are detailed on the COMP12111 course unit syllabus page on the School of Computer Science's website for current students.

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Problem solving

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 50%
  • Practical skills assessment - 50%


Basic logic functions (4)

  • Combinatorial logic
  • Sequential logic

Register Transfer Level (3)

Introduction to CAD and Verilog (3)

  • The use of computer aided design to manage complex designs
  • Verilog as a hardware description language

The 'three box' computer model - CPU, Memory and I/O (1)

Processor Design (4)

  • Datapath design
  • Control
  • Optimisation

Memory (3)

  • Types of memory
  • Addressing and interfacing

Input/output (4)

  • Parallel I/O
  • Serial I/O
  • Interrupts and DMA

Recommended reading

COMP12111 reading list can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.

Feedback methods

Feedback is provided by the automated marking of submitted work. In addition, face-to-face demonstration of submitted work is undertaken for each exercise, where a demonstrator provides one-to-one feedback on the work submitted.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam - 2 hours
  • Lectures - 44 hours
  • Practical classes & workshops - 20 hours
  • Independent study hours - 34 hours

Teaching staff

Paul Nutter - Unit coordinator

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