Computer Laboratory

Course pages 2013–14

Computer Fundamentals

Principal lecturer: Dr Robert Harle
Taken by: Part IA CST, Part IA NST, Part I PBS

Computer Fundamentals is an optional four-lecture course that covers important core concepts and ideas in Conmputer Science. It is intended for anyone with limited experience with Computer Science.

THe course for 2013 is now finished, but notes are available below:

Lecture 1: Bits, Bytes and Number Systems

  • The significance of the bit and powers of 2
  • Data quantities (B, kB, MB, GB, etc)
  • Number systems (decimal, binary, octal , hexadecimal)
  • Representing negative numbers (sign-magnitude, 1s' complement, 2’s complement)
  • Binary addition (carries, overflows)
  • Binary subtraction

Click here for the annotated notes

Lecture 2: How Computers Work

  • Brief history of computers
  • Stored program concept
  • Fetch-execute cycle
  • Compilers and Interpreters

Click here for the annotated notes

Lecture 3: Modern Computer Components

  • Motherboards, buses, peripherals
  • Memory hierarchy
  • (S)RAM cells
  • Spinning HDDs
  • Flash and SSDs
  • Graphics Cards and GPUs
  • RISC and CISC architectures
  • Click here for the annotated notes

Lecture 4: Modern Computer Components

  • Operating Systms
  • Multitasking and Process Scheduling
  • Threads
  • Multiprocessor and Multicore systems
  • Concurrency problems (race conditions etc)
  • Visrtucalisation

Click here for the annotated notes