ING-INF/05 - 9 CFU - 1° Semester

Teaching Staff


Learning Objectives

The course presents the fundamental concepts of computing systems.

In the first part the course introduces the techniques and methodologies for the design of digital systems. In the second part, the course presents the components of a computer and their organization, some instruction set architectures of the processors, some techniques for an efficient implementation of the processors and the memory subsystem.

Furthermore, in order to better understand the functioning of the processor, the course introduces the student to the assembly programming of an educational processor.

Knowledge and understanding
The student will know:

Applying knowledge and understanding
The student will be able to:

Making judgements
The student will be able to assess the impact of architectural choices on the performance of a computer.

Learning skills
The student will be able to independently learn:

Course Structure

The course will be organized in lectures, exercises, practical experiences and presentation of use cases.

Should teaching be carried out in mixed mode or remotely, it may be necessary to introduce changes with respect to previous statements, in line with the programme planned and outlined in the syllabus.

Learning assessment may also be carried out on line, should the conditions require it.

Detailed Course Content

Part I Digital Design

1.1 Combinational circuits design

Switching Algebra. Minimum Boolean expressions. Minimization using Karnaugh maps and Quine- McCluckey method.

1.2 Synchronous sequential circuits Design

Introduction to sequential machines. The memory elements. Synthesis of synchronous sequential circuits. Minimization of finite state machines.

1.3 Design of a digital system

Design flow of a digital system. Datapath and control unit. Hardware description Languages. VHDL. Design flow using automatic tools. Entity and architecture. Concurrent and sequential models. Process. Data types. Procedure and funtions. Simulations and synthesis.

Part II Computer architecture

2.1 Computer abstractions and technology

The types of computers and their characteristics. The components of a computer. Computer Organization. Computer performance evaluation. Amdhal’s law.

2.2 The computer language: the Assembly

Instruction Set Architecture. Translation and starting a program: assembler, linker, and loader. MIPS64 Instruction Set Architecture. An educational Instruction Set Simulator for MIPS 64 processor: EDUMIPS. Assembly of EduMIPS64 processor. Arithmetic/logical instructions. Memory access. System calls. Array. String. Procedure calls

2.3 Computer Organization

Sequential organization of a processor. Datapath of a sequential processor. Control unit of a sequential processor.

Organization of pipelined processor.

2.4 The Memory subsystem

Static and dynamic RAM memories. Asynchronous and synchronous memories. Memory organization.

Cache memories. Block placement policies, block identification, block replacement and write policy. Memory Performance. Techniques for improving cache performance.

Textbook Information

[T1] Fummi, Sami, Silvano, “Progettazione digitale”, 2/ed McGraw-Hill

[T2] Patterson, Hennessy, “Struttura e progetto dei calcolatori”, Zanichelli

[T3] Bucci, “Architettura e organizzazione dei calcolatori elettronici: fondamenti”, McGraw-Hill

[T4] On line Course material

Open in PDF format Versione in italiano