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Computer Organisation and Systems Software

Short name: COSS
SITS code: BUCI055H5
Credits: 15
Level: 5
Module leader: Cen Wan
Lecturer(s): Cen Wan

Module outline

During the module the students will become familiar with the main parts of the computer, their functions and interconnections. They will also learn the main functions of the operating system and how it interacts with the hardware.


The main aim of the module is to understand the basics of computer architecture and organisation, and the role and mechanisms of operating systems.


1. Basics of Computer Architecture

2. Memory Hierarchy

3. Instruction Sets

4. Pipelining

5. Processes and Threads

6. Scheduling and Resource Allocation

7. Concurrency

8. Input/Output

9. File Systems


Passing the Introduction to Computer Systems module

Timetables, locations and term dates

Programme specific timetables are listed in the handbooks available for each programme. Please consult the relevant programme page.

Enrolled students can find their personal teaching timetable and the location of classes on their My Birkbeck profile.


Computational and algorithmic exercises


Written examination (90%) and coursework (10%)

Recommended reading

J.A. Harris, Operating Systems, Schaum’s Outline Series, McGraw-Hill, 2002

N. Carter, Computer Architecture, Schaum’s Outline Series, McGraw-Hill, 2002