KV4008 - Computing Fundamentals

What will I learn on this module?

This module aims to provide you with a theoretical and practical foundation required to understand the fundamental underpinnings of a computing system. You will be introduced to the basic concepts and first principles involved in computer software, information representation and the operations and components used in computer system architectures. You will gain an understanding of the underlying theory of computation as well as the major computational and programming paradigms. To complement this theoretical underpinning, you will also study the standard von Neumann computer architecture and von Neumann machine programming.

This module will help you develop logical reasoning, computational thinking and problem-solving skills employers look for. An introductory understanding of computer architecture and assembly programming improves your career options in areas such as embedded systems. Practising and developing mathematical skills and problem-solving improves your employability and allows you to develop this area further at later stages of the programme. A broad understanding of the theoretical principles of computing allows you to extend this understanding into areas of theoretical research. It also allows you to engage with wider discussions in the computing community. The module examines current computational paradigms and principles of design of computer hardware and their environmental impact.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through lectures, workshops, and independent learning. Lectures will be used to introduce you to theories and key concepts. You will explore these further in seminar and workshop sessions through practical exercises.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The seminar classes will allow you to explore concepts from the lectures through practical exercises. You will be given advice and feedback on your work and progress on these during your classes by your tutors. In addition, the eLP (electronic Learning Portal) Blackboard is used to make the study materials available electronically. You can also request appointments outside of scheduled classes from your tutors.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Demonstrate knowledge from first principles of set theory, logic and computer models and apply them in modelling software, systems and data
2. Demonstrate knowledge of the system architecture of a von Neumann computer and how storage, arithmetic and I/O system interact in such a computer
3. Describe how data and instructions are represented and stored in a von Neumann computer and how high level language abstractions relate to the machine implementation.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
4. Apply appropriate tools and methods to program von Neumann machines.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Discuss major paradigms of Computation and their application in software systems

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment will be a single assignment involving a mixture of written tasks (totalling no more than 2000 words), problem-solving and programming exercises. The assignment will be submitted electronically in early January. Feedback will be provided using the university’s e-learning portal. This assessment addresses all MLOs (1, 2, 3, 4 & 5).

Formative assessment will take the form of exercises in seminar classes to help you apply the concepts covered in the lectures and to check your understanding. Your tutors will provide you with feedback on your work. Computer-based multiple-choice tests will help check your basic knowledge outside of class time.

Pre-requisite(s)

N/A

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

This module aims to provide you with a theoretical and practical foundation required to understand the fundamental underpinnings of a computing system. You will be introduced to the basic concepts involved in computer software, information representation and the operations and components used in computer system architectures. You will gain an understanding of the underlying theory of computation as well as the major computational and programming paradigms. To complement this theoretical underpinning, you will also study the standard von Neumann computer architecture and von Neumann machine programming.

Indicative topics include:
- Number representation (binary, hexadecimal, floating points, Unicode)
- Mathematical foundations for computing from first principles (set theory, relations and functions)
- Digital logic (logic notations, logic gates)
- Computer Systems architecture (CPU, computer functional units, memory, registers)
- Assembly programming
- Theories of computation from first principles (for example, the work of Turing, von Neumann, Babbage and/or the nature of state machines)

Lectures will be used to introduce you to theories and key concepts. You will explore these further in seminar and workshop sessions through practical exercises.

Course info

UCAS Code G416

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Computer and Information Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.

 

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