University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Advanced Computer Systems Organisation

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Communications and Computer Engineering

DESCRIPTION This study-unit introduces students to parallel computer systems organization for single computer systems with one or more processors, each with one or more cores, as well as clusters and grids of computers. The techniques for dedicated and shared computer storage systems will be studied. Virtual computer organization will also be presented and discussed. Finally, the organization of a modern Data Centre will be presented and discussed.

Study-unit Aims

Introduce students to modern techniques in the engineering design and implementation of parallel computers, data storage systems, virtual computer systems and data centres.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Describe, analyse, compare and design parallel computer architectures comprising single machines with multiple multicore processors and multiple computer clusters and grids;

- Describe, analyse, and compare dedicated and shared data storage systems including SAS, SAN and NAS;

- Describe and compare computer virtualization technologies, and then allow students to analyse and design IAAS, PAAS, and SAAS service architectures, for performance and manageability;

- Characterise the various components and subsystems that comprise a Data Centre, and learn how to design and monitor Data Centres aimed at delivering five nines reliability.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Design resilient:
+ parallel architectures for both single and multiple computer systems;
+ dedicated and shared storage systems;
+ virtual computer systems;
+ data centres.

- Discuss analytically, typical applications of the above systems.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

Reference Texts:

"Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach", John L. Hennessy, David A. Patterson, Elsevier, Inc, 5th Edition, 2012.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study, Practicum & Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Practical No 10%
Assignment Yes 40%
Examination (1 Hour) Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Etienne V. Depasquale (Co-ord.)

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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