Principles of Computer Organization

Course Code: B62006Y-01

Course Name: Principles of Computer Organization

Course Properties: professional basic course

Periods&Credits: 60/3.0

Level: Undergraduate

Pre-requisite: none

Instructors:Dr. Lixin zhang, Dr. Xiufeng Sui

Course Description

Principles of Computer Organizationis an important course for undergraduates with major in computer science and technology. This course also plays a significant role in teaching programs in this profession. This course is designed to enable students to master the composition principles and implementation technology of computer hardware subsystems. Students will understand the inner working theory of the modern digital computer systems and establish the overall concept of a computer system. The course is important for students to develop the ability to design computer systems.

The following are learning objectives of this course:

1. Know the basic composition of computers and the characteristic of Von•Neumann computer.

2. Grasp the expressions of fixed-point and floating-point in the computer, operating principles of basic computing and hardware implementation.

3. Master order formats and common addressing modes in the instruction system.

4. Master the working principle and design methods of the single-cycle data path and control components, and the implementation theory of combinatorial logic and micro-program control.

5. Master the operating principle and composition structure of memory hierarchy.

6. Master the characteristics of the basic I/O device, the operating principle of the system and the classification of the bus.

Topics and Schedule

1. The basic concepts of the computer system (4 hrs)

1.1. The concept of the computer hardware and software;

1.2. The hierarchical structure of the computer system;

1.3.The basic composition of computers and the characteristic of Von•Neumann computer;

1.4. The hardware block diagram and working process of the computer;

1.5. The main technical indicators of the CPU performance evaluation;

1.6. The development and application of the computer, the evolution and implementation technology of computer basic architecture.

2. Number representation in the computer (4 hrs)

       2.1. The representation of signed number (the original code, complement, anti-code, frame shift) and unsigned number in computer;

2.2. The expressions of fixed-point and floating-point in the computer (IEEE 754 floating-point standard).

3. The computer’s operational method and ALU(8 hrs)

       3.1. Fixed-point arithmetic (arithmetic shift and logical shift, complement addition and subtraction, original code and complement multiplication, original code and complement division) and the corresponding hardware configuration;

       3.2. Floating-point arithmetic;

       3.3. ALU, multiplier and divider.

4. Instruction system (4 hrs)

       4.1. The general format of machine instructions;

4.2. The operand type and the operation type;

4.3. Instruction’s address formats and addressing modes;

4.4. Examples of instruction format;

4.5. The basic concept of RISC technology.

5. Data path and control components (12 hrs)

5.1. The functions and structure of the CPU;

5.2. Instruction cycle and basic instruction pipeline;

5.3. The design of single-cycle data path;

5.4. The design of single-cycle control path, including the design of combinatorial logic: The block diagram of combinational logic control unit, micro-operation beat arrangements and examples of combinational logic design;

5.5. Microprogramming: The block diagram of micro program control unit and working principle, microinstruction encoding, the generation type of micro instruction address, microinstruction format and examples of micro programming.

6. Memory system (8 hrs)

       6.1. Memory classification and memory hierarchy;

       6.2. Main memory (including the introduction to a semiconductor memory chip, SRAM and DRAM, ROM, the connection to the memory and the CPU, memory check, measures to improve the speed of memory access);

       6.3. Cache memory (including the basic structure and working principle of Cache, the mapping of main memory address of Cache and replacement algorithm);

6.4. Virtual memory.

7.Interrupt and abnormality (4 hrs)

       7.1. Similarities and differences of the interrupt and abnormality;

       7.2. Interrupt processing (including various factors causing interruptions, the common problems required to be solved in the interrupt system, such as: the interrupt request flag, interrupt arbitration, interrupt response, interrupt service, return from interrupt and multiple interrupts, etc).

8. Input-output system (6 hrs)

       8.1. The basic concept of the bus;

       8.2. The classification of the bus;

8.3. Characteristics and performance indicators of the bus;

8.4. Bus structure;

8.5. The arbitration and communication control of the bus;

8.6. The development situation and composition of the input and output system, the addressing modes, transmission mode, contact way and device addressing to the I/O and the host;

8.7. The introduction and classification of the external devices;

8.8. The function and basic composition of the I/O interface;

8.9. Working principles of the procedures query and the interface circuit of the procedures query;

8.10. Working principles of the program interrupt, the interface circuit of the program interrupt and the interrupt service process;

8.11. Characteristics of the DMA, the function, composition and type of DMA interface circuits, and the work process of DMA.


Students are required to master various information coding procedures inside the computer, the operating principles of basic operations, structure and organization of basic components, and the design method of components and unit circuit. By learning this course, students will establish overall concept of the computer. They will understand the interrelation of subsystems in the computer and the status and the role each subsystem plays in the computer deeply.

"Compulsory + seminar” mode is adopted in order to enable student s to master the computer's basic components and working principles deeply. A small and single-cycle CPU that contains typical MIPS instruction is required to be designed by them based on what they learn. In this way, students will combine theory with practice. Furthermore, the students' operation ability, designing ability and problem-solving skills will be developed, which reflects the objective that integrates science with education in the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.


David A.Patterson, John L.Hennessy,Computer Organization and Design: the Hardware / Software Interface, 4th Edition,Machinery Industry Press