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Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

Beginning with digital logic gates and progressing to the design of combinational and sequential circuits, this course use these fundamental building blocks as the basis for what follows: the design of an actual MIPS microprocessor. In addition, students will get hands on experience on programming Intel 8086 assembly language which is the inner language spoken by the processor. By the end of the course, students will have a top-to-down understanding of how a micropressor works. The course is taught without prerequisites; students are taught with plenty of exercises from lectures, tutorials, practical and tests every week.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Joey Lam

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?


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What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

  • Basics: Number Systems, (Decimal Binary Hexadecimal), Binary Addition, Logic Gates, Transistors, Power Consumption, Boolean Algebra, Multiplexer/Decoders/Timing, Latches and Flip-Flops, Finite State Machines.
  • Building Blocks: Arithmetic Circuits, Number Systems (Fixed-Point, Floating-Point), Memory Arrays, Logic Arrays.
  • Assembly Language, Machine Language, Addressing Modes, Program execution, Heaps and stacks.
  • Microarchitecture: Single-Cycle Processor, Multicycle Processor, Pipelined Processor.
  • Memory Systems: Caches, Virtual Memory.

Further Information & Notes

Assistive technologies may be required for any student who is unable to use a standard keyboard/mouse/computer monitor. Any students wishing to discuss this further should contact the School Disability Co-ordinator.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed


Contact Teaching Time

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Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt: 1 two-hour written examination (50%); weekly tests (20%), practical coursework (30%). Resit: 1 two-hour written examination (50%); continuous assessment carried forward (50%).

Formative Assessment

During lectures, the Personal Response System and/or other ways of student interaction will be used for formative assessment. Additionally, practical sessions will provide students with practice opportunities and formative assessment.


Formative feedback for in-course assessments will be provided in written form. Additionally, formative feedback on performance will be provided informally during practical sessions.

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