03716 - Digital Design Principles and Computer Architecture

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The course provides a reference framework to understand the behaviour of simple microprocessor based systems, focusing on:
- logic design principles and reference model
- digital systems core components
- basics of computer architecture
- architecture impact on performance
- system design

Course contents

Information Coding and binary codes Analysis and synthesis of combinational, asynchronous and synchronous circuits Von Neumann conceptual model of stored program computers
Computer Architecture and performance
ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) RISC and CISC Architectures
CPU structure and ISA implementation:
Control Unit and Data path
Sequential implementation of a RISC processor (DLX)
Exception handling and input/output processing
Interfacing memory and and input/output devices to the microprocessor bus
Design of simple microprocessor based systems


Ashenden: "Digital Design" - Morgan Kaufmann pub. Inc.
Hennessy Patterson: "Computer architecture: a quantitative approach" - Morgan Kaufmann pub. Inc.

Teaching methods

Slides stored in the platform (Virtuale) are presented and interactively discussed in the classroom.

Assessment methods

Assessment is based on test using the EOL tool. The following main topics are covered:

  1. Digital circuit theory: combinational logic and synchronous sequential machines
  2. ISA and CPU structure: Control Unit and Data Path
  3. Input/output management: hardware and software drivers

Teaching tools

Virtuale is used for sharing content and forum

EOL is used for the self-assessment through past exams

Office hours

See the website of Luca Roffia