11925 - Computer Architecture

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Ivan Lanese
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: INF/01
  • Language: Italian
  • Moduli: Ivan Lanese (Modulo 1) Paolo Felli (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Computer Science (cod. 8009)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student knows the basic architecture of a computer, combinatorial and sequential networks, and the correspondence between assembly and high-level languages. The student is able to design simple combinational and sequential circuits and write assembly code.

Course contents

Organisation of computer systems. Binary systems. Elements of Boolean algebra, Logic Gates, Combinational circuits, Sequential circuits. Memory, CPU and Bus. The ISA level and assembly programming. The operating systems. Mapping from high-level programming languages to lower architectural levels.


No specific book is required. Updated teaching material is available through the Virtuale website.

For further information we suggest: Andrew S. Tanenbaum - Todd Austin. Structured Computer Organization 6th edition. Pearson. 2013.

The book is also recommended for students who are not attending the lessons.

Teaching methods

The course is composed by 4 credits of lessons and 2 credits of laboratory. The laboratory part will be done by students using their own computers, alone or in small groups.

In relation to the kind of activities and didactical methods adopted,
the attendance to this class will require the preliminary participation
of all the students to the Modules 1 and 2 of the Safety rules on study places, which can ne followed remotely in e-learning via the following link: https://elearning-sicurezza.unibo.it/

Assessment methods

The exam consists of a written test (including both open theoretical questions and exercises) and a design project consisting of the (virtual) realization of a processor and its assembly language. The project includes different deadlines, both during the course and after its end. The written test is worth from 0 to 27 points, the project from 0 to 6 points. A bonus point could be obtained by active participation to classes. The final mark is given by the sum of the mark of the written test and of the project.

At the moment rules allow for in presence exams only. In case changes in the rules will allow for online exams then the theoretical questions will be removed from the written test and discussed in an oral test after the evaluation of the written test.

Teaching tools

The teaching material is available on the Virtuale website. At the beginning of the course a preliminary version of the teaching material is available, it may be slightly refined as far as the different topics are presented.

For the project part we will use the nand2tetris suite:


Office hours

See the website of Ivan Lanese

See the website of Paolo Felli