In this course, you will learn how a computer system is constructed. After that the course finished, you will have a fundamental understanding of how a processor is constructed, how a computer executes machine code, and how memory hierarchies affect execution time. You will also learn the basic principles of parallel computation. At the laboratory exercises, you will write assembly and C code, see how programs are executed on an embedded hardware platform, and construct a functional single-cycle processor in a simulation environment. Finally, in groups of two students, you will construct a mini-project on a real embedded platform.
Please see the course website for more information about the course (course memo, lectures etc.).
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Content and learning outcomes
The course gives basic knowledge of how a computer functions and is built-up both from a hardware and a software perspective The course is divided into six different modules, which for example include the following basic concepts:
- C-programming and assembler language: pointers, functions, stack, assembly language, machine language, instruction encoding and processor registers.
- I/O system: timers, interrupts and memory mapped I/O.
- Digital design: truth tables, gates, boolean algebra, multiplexers, decoders, adders, combinatorial nets, sequential networks and registers.
- Processor construction: arithmetic-logic unit, data path, control unit and pipeline.
- Memory architectures: instruction cache, data cache and virtual memory.
- Parallel processors and programs: Amdahl's law, different specialisations of parallelism as well as multicore.
Intended learning outcomes
Having passed the course, the student should be able to:
- Implement low-level programs in the C programming language and in an assembly language
- Implement low-level programs with input-output, timers, and interrupts
- Analyse how logical gates, blocks, combinatorial circuits and sequential circuits work.
- Analyse processor microarchitectures, with and without a pipeline,
- Analyse memory hierarchies, including cache-structures.
- Compare fundamental concepts about multiprocessor computers.
- Explain and describe technical solutions both orally and in writing.
For higher grades, the student shall also construct more complex programs and/or discuss and analyze concepts within the course. The details are specified in the course memo.
Literature and preparations
Completed course in programming corresponding to DD1310/DD1311/DD1312/DD1314/DD1315/DD1316/DD1318/DD1331/DD1337/DD100N/ID1018..
Active participation in a course offering where the final examination is not yet reported in Ladok is considered equivalent to completion of the course.
Registering for a course is counted as active participation.
The term 'final examination' encompasses both the regular examination and the first re-examination.
The student must be able to write, explain and debug programs in imperative programming-languages, such as Java, C, or C++, up to program-sizes around 100 lines of code.
Examination and completion
If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.
- ANN1 - Component Demostration, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
- LAB1 - Laboratory Works, 4.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
- TEN1 - Examination, 3.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.
The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.
Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination
Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination
- All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
- In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
- In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.
Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.Course web IS1500
Main field of study
In this course, the EECS code of honor applies, see: http://www.kth.se/en/eecs/utbildning/hederskodex.