Computer Systems - COMP3240

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental behaviour and components (hardware and software) of a typical computer system, and how they collaborate to manage resources and provide services in scales from small embedded devices up to the global internet. The module has two strands: 'Computer Architecture' and ‘Operating Systems and Networks’. Both strands contain material which is of general interest to computer users; quite apart from their academic value, they will be useful to anyone using any modern computer system.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 26
Private study hours: 124
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

13. Assessment methods
13.1 Main assessment methods
Canterbury and Medway
Coursework 50%
(Test) A1 In-class Test (12.5%)
(Test) A2 In-class Test (12.5%)
(Test) A3 In-class Test (12.5%)
(Test) A4 In-class Test (12.5%)
2-hour unseen examination 50%

13.2 Reassessment methods
Like for like assessment

Indicative reading

McLoughlin, Ian Vince (2011) Computer Architecture: an embedded approach. McGraw-Hill, 512 pp. ISBN 9780-071311-182
Tanenbaum, Andrew & Bos, Herbert (2014) Modern Operating Systems (4th Edition). Pearson Education, 1136 pp. ISBN 978-0133591-620
Kurose, James and Ross, Keith (2009) Computer networking: a top-down approach (5th Edition). Pearson Education, ISBN 978-0131365-483
Mueller, Scott (2012) Upgrading and repairing PCs (20th ed onwards). QUE Press ISBN 978-0-7897-3954-4

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

8. The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Describe the purpose of, and the interaction between, the functional hardware and software components of a typical computer system.
8.2 Identify the principal hardware and software components which enable functionality and connectivity of systems ranging in scale from the global Internet down to tiny embedded systems like those that empower the Internet of Things.
8.3 Appreciate the principles and technologies behind the Internet, including layered architectures, and how this can be used to deliver effective network services.
8.4 Describe how networks and other computer hardware interact with operating systems, and can be shared between different programs and computers.
8.5 Assess the likely environmental impact of basic decisions involving computer hardware.

9. The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Communicate their understanding of basic computer hardware and software. ?
9.2 Develop their understanding of how network technologies underpin the Internet.
9.3 Evaluate how computer hardware and software interact to deliver functionality and services at both small and large scales.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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