Computer Architecture



  • 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.
  • Detailled knowledge about the components of the Von Neumann architecture.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Pedro Abílio Duarte de Medeiros


Weekly - 5

Total - 65

Teaching language



Introduction to Programming (Introdução à Programação) and Logical Systems (Sistemas Lógicos).


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

C Programming Language (2/Ed). Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie. Prentice Hall, 1988.

How to Think Like a Computer Scientist - C VersionThomas Scheffler and Allen B. Downey,  June 27th, 2019, disponível em PDF em

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.

Evaluation method

All the grades are rounded to first decimal.

Evaluation Components

- Practical  assessment, NP:

4 individual homeworks (TPC) will be evaluated. The evaluation may include oral discussion or laboratory practice testing of these TPCs.

NP = average of the mark of the 4 homeworks

- Theoretical-practical assessment, NT:

Two tests and a final exam will exit (presential, closed books).

NT is the average of the marks of the two tests or the mark of the exam.

Final grade

if NP < 8,0 then NF = NP

if NT < 8,0 then NF = NT

if NT >= 8,0  and NP >= 8,0 then NF = 0.3 * NP + 0,7 *  NT 

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.


Programs where the course is taught: