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Computer Architecture and Organization

Code: EIC0083     Acronym: AOCO

Classification Keyword
OFICIAL Computer Arquitechture

Instance: 2019/2020 - 1S Ícone do Moodle

Active? Yes
Responsible unit: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Course/CS Responsible: Master in Informatics and Computing Engineering

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
MIEIC 200 Syllabus since 2009/2010 1 - 6 70 162

Teaching Staff - Responsibilities

Teacher Responsibility
João Paulo de Castro Canas Ferreira

Teaching - Hours

Lectures: 3,00
Recitations: 2,00
Type Teacher Classes Hour
Lectures Totals 1 3,00
João Paulo de Castro Canas Ferreira 3,00
Recitations Totals 8 16,00
Daniel Miranda Malafaia Granhão 4,00
Helder Henrique Avelar 2,00
Bruno Miguel Carvalhido Lima 4,00
António José Duarte Araújo 6,00
Mais informaçõesLast updated on 2019-08-03.

Fields changed: Teaching methods and learning activities, Fórmula de cálculo da classificação final, Componentes de Avaliação e Ocupação, Programa, Software de apoio à Unidade Curricular, Obtenção de frequência

Teaching language



This course introduces the principles of operation and general structure of a modern computer and its general structure, with particular emphasis on the contribution of each subsystem to the overall performance. The analysis of the implementation technology of computers (logic circuits and memory), together with the basic principles of digital information representation, will allow students to identify and describe the principles of computer operation, programming languages and software development.

Learning outcomes and competences

After completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and describe the major subsystems of a personal computer;
  2. Describe and interpret binary representation of numerical information;
  3. Perform basic arithmetic operations in binary;
  4. Evaluate the performance of computers in simple scenarios;
  5. Identify and explain the operation of basic logic circuits (combinational and sequential);
  6. Explain the operation of standard combinational circuits;
  7. Explain the operation of solid-state memories and analyse the operation of memory modules;
  8. Explain the basic principles of instruction encoding;
  9. Write simple programs in assembly language involving Boolean and arithmetic operations, tests, jumps and subroutines;
  10. Describe the operation of a single-cycle processing unit;
  11. Explain organization and operation of direct-access cache memories;
  12. Identify the different levels of the memory hierarchy and their impact on performance.

Working method



M1.Introduction. Computers: application areas of and their characteristics.
M2.Representation of information: binary representation of integers. Elementary arithmetic operations. Codes. IEEE-754 floating-point format.
M3.Combinational logic circuits. Boolean expressions. Elementary logic gates. Logic diagrams. Logic simulator. Standard circuits.
M4.Synchronous circuits: Memory elements, register and counters. Address decoding.
M5.Computers: high-level languages, low-level languages. Conceptual model of program execution. Subsystems: CPU, memory, input/output peripherals.
M6.CPU performance: Basic performance equation, benchmarks, Amdahl's Law.
M7.Instruction set: Instruction types, address modes, encoding.
M8.Basic concepts of assembly programming. Assembler. Subroutines.
M9.Organization of a simple central processing unit. Single-cycle CPU: performance, limitations.
M10. Cache memory: Memory hierarchies.  Cache memories. Performance.

Mandatory literature

David Patterson, John Hennessy; Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface ARM Edition, Elsevier / Morgan Kaufmann , 2016. ISBN: 9780128017333
Conjuntos de exercícios resolvidos e exercícios propostos
Cópias de acetatos e textos fornecidos
Carlos Pedro Baptista ; Introdução aos Sistemas Digitais, FCA, 2015. ISBN: 9789727227709

Teaching methods and learning activities

Teaching methods

The course includes lectures on the subject matter, including, where appropriate, the presentation of examples and their discussion. The practical classes include the presentation, analysis and resolution of a number of problems.

Learning activities outside the classroom: Multiple-choice questionnaires for self-evaluation.



Development Studio 5 Community Edition


Technological sciences > Engineering > Computer engineering

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation without final exam

Assessment Components

Designation Weight (%)
Teste 100,00
Total: 100,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

Designation Time (hours)
Estudo autónomo 106,00
Frequência das aulas 56,00
Total: 162,00

Eligibility for exams

Approval requires the participation in, at least, 75% of the scheduled TP classes.

This condition must be fulfilled  in the current edition of the curricular unit or have been fulfilled in the immediatley preceeding edition.

Calculation formula of final grade

The course grade is calculated  from the results of two tests (2h  each).

The final grade is given by 

NFinal = (T1+T2),

where T1 and T2 are the grades for the first and secon testes, respectively.  NFinal is rounded to units.

There will be extra tests exclusively for students who obtain a final score lower than 10   (after rounding). Each test (T1  or T2) with score below 9.5 may be taken once.
The maximum score awarded for  the extra test is 9.5 (out of 20) (for each test).
This score will replace the previous score of the corresponding component.
The extra test does not lower the final score.

Special assessment (TE, DA, ...)

Taking the same tests as regular students.

Classification improvement

Classification can only be improved by teaking the course again on the next occurrence of the curricular unit.
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