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ELEC40003 (ELEC40003) Digital Electronics & Computer Architecture

Lecturer(s): Dr Tom Clarke; Dr Zahid Durrani


The aim of this module is to teach the foundations of digital design and low-level computer operation and enable you to understand system design across the hardware-software boundary.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:
1. design significant synchronous sequential digital circuits using registers and combinational logic
2. design simple two’s complement addition and subtraction digital circuits, with correct use of carry and overflow.
3. use digital blocks: RAMs, ROMs, registers, adders, multiplexers and state machines to design and analyse the operation of simple pipelined RISC computer systems.
4. model the operation of machine code instructions on a CPU at register-transfer level, and manipulate data using different numeric representations.
5. write programs for arithmetic operations, manipulating bit fields within words, accessing memory, and calling subroutines.
6. implement I/O in embedded computer systems using polling.


First an introduction will be provided to the design and operation of digital electronic circuits. The course will cover: (1) Data representation for digital electronics (2) Boolean Algebra and Combination Logic. (3) Combinational logic gates, circuit and logical operation, and their implementation. (4) Basic digital blocks e.g. multiplexers, adders, encoders/decoders, flip-flops, ROM/RAM, registers. (5) Sequential Circuits and their timing, State Machines. (6) Simple application examples to tie together the above concepts. Then you will apply this knowledge to the design of a simple CPU. The module will culminate with the design of hardware and code for an embedded processor.

Exam Duration: 2:00hrs
Coursework contribution: 30%

Term: Autumn & Spring

Closed or Open Book (end of year exam): Closed

Coursework Requirement: Laboratory experiments
Coursework assessment: 1hr on-line test in each reading week and an oral tests at end of autumn and spring term.

Oral Exam Required (as final assessment): no

Prerequisite module(s): None required

Course Homepage: unavailable

Book List: