Fundamentals of Digital Systems

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Autumn Special
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
25 April 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BENGH610DA Electronic Engineering,
BSC YHG1 Digital and Technology Solutions (Software Engineer)

Module description

The module will introduce the essential hardware and low level software components of a digital computer system. They will understand the nature and architecture of a digital computer, identifying the operation of components within the system and explain the principles of an operating system. Students will study binary arithmetic with applications and design simple logic circuits from basic gates.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to introduce the essential hardware and low level software components of a digital computer system. The operation of these components is explored problem solving classes.

Module learning outcomes

Upon completion of this module, students should have a good conceptual and practical understanding of the nature and architecture of a digital computer system. Students will be expected to be able to:

1. understand the nature and architecture of a digital computer.
2. identify and explain the purpose and principles of operation of the components of a computer system.
3. explain the principles and purpose of an operating system.
4. interpret and manipulate binary representations of data, including two's complement.
5. design and understand simple logic circuits built from standard logic gates.

Module information

Outline Syllabus

Introduction to computer automatic theory.
Brief history of computer systems
System architecture
Peripherals and buses
Processor architecture
Computer system operation
Input/Output devices
Hardware components of a computer system
Introduction to operating systems

Learning and teaching methods

Lecturers and Laboratories


  • Stallings, William; Zeno, Peter. (©2016) Computer organization and architecture: designing for performance.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Progress Test 1 - Week 6 50%
Coursework Progress Test 2 - Week 11 50%
Exam 120 minutes during January (Main)

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
40% 60%


Coursework Exam
40% 60%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Francisco Sepulveda
School office, email: csee-schooloffice (non-Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 64 hours, 58 (90.6%) hours available to students:
6 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.