Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia

Computer Architecture



Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia


Departamento de Informática



Teacher in charge

Pedro Abílio Duarte de Medeiros, Vítor Manuel Alves Duarte

Weekly hours


Total hours


Teaching language




  • The general organization of computer hardware, and the inner workings of the CPU.
  • The hardware representation of data and instructions.
  • The translation process from C programs to assembly language and machine language.
  • The low level interfaces to I/O devices.
  • The organization and characteristics of memory units.

Competencies and aptitudes

  • C programming, assembly programming, translating between the two.
  • Designing the basic components of a CPU.

Subject matter

1. Programming in C.

2. Number representation.

3. Assembly language: instruction types, instruction format, procedures and calling conventions.

4. Compiling, linking, assembling, and loading.

5. Internal organization of processing units. Single cycle processor. Pipelining. Advanced concepts.

6. Caches and memory units. Virtual memory basics.

7. I/O.


Computer Systems: A Programmer''s Perspective, 2/E , Randal E. Bryant, David R. O''Hallaron, Prentice Hall, 2011

Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface (revised Fourth Edition). By David A. Patterson, John L. Hennessy. Morgan Kaufmann editors, 2011.

C Programming Language (2nd Edition). By Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie. Prentice Hall, 1988.

Teaching method

In lectures we will explain and discuss the sequence of points in the course program. In the last third of each lecture we will discuss, whenever possible, the resolution of a practical exercise whose solution requires applying the knowledge learned in the beginning of the lecture.

 During lab classes students will develop a series of practical programming assignments, whose objective is to apply and consolidate the concepts that were learned in lecture. After concluding each lab assignment, students should discuss with the instructor the behavior of the programs they developed and the respective connection to the concepts learned throughout the course.