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COSC243 Computer Architecture and Operating Systems

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Digital logic and circuits, micro-programming, and assembler language concepts, characteristics of operating systems, file systems, and resource allocation; Unix and its variants.

The first part of this paper will cover the basics of computer architecture, including data representation, digital logic and devices, combinational and sequential circuits, structure of a computer, memory systems, data input and output, microprogramming and assembly language concepts. The second part will cover the concepts and fundamental principles of operating systems, including processes, interprocess communication, process scheduling, memory management, virtual memory, file systems, I/O management and resource allocation. These concepts will be illustrated with examples from the Linux operating system.

Paper title Computer Architecture and Operating Systems
Paper code COSC243
Subject Computer Science
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,092.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,004.75

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COMP 103 or COMP 160
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Commerce, Science

Computer Science Adviser (

Teaching staff
Lecturers: Associate Professor Andrew Trotman and Associate Professor Zhiyi Huang
Paper Structure
The first half of this paper covers Computer Architecture; the second half covers Operating Systems. The main topics taught in lectures include:
  • Data Representation
  • Logic and Combinatorial Logic
  • Sequential Logic
  • Computer Architecture
  • Instruction Sets and Addressing Modes
  • Assembly Language Techniques
  • Memory and Storage Systems
  • Input and Output
  • Control Unit and Microprogramming
  • Operating System Structure
  • Processes and Threads
  • Process Scheduling
  • Process Synchronisation
  • Deadlocks
  • Memory Management
  • Virtual Memory
  • File Systems
  • I/O Management
  • Resource Allocation
The main topics covered in tutorials reflect those of the lectures.

  • Tutorial Quizzes and Class Interaction 10%
  • Two Practical Tests 10% each
  • Final Exam 70%
Teaching Arrangements
There are two 1-hour lectures and two 2-hour tutorials per week.
Stallings, W., Computer Organization and Architecture (9th Edition), Prentice Hall, 2012. (recommended)

Silberschatz, A. et al, Operating System Concepts (9th Edition), Wiley, 2012. (essential)
Course outline
View the course outline for COSC 243
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Critical thinking, Information literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
This paper will enable students to:
  • Understand how a computer system is organised
  • Understand data representation and computing logic
  • Be familiar with computer architectures and instruction sets
  • Understand how an operating system is structured and works
  • Understand fundamental concepts and principles of operating systems
  • Be familiar with basic OS algorithms like process scheduling algorithms and resource allocation algorithms

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22
Friday 11:00-11:50 9-12, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Monday 09:00-10:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
A2 Monday 14:00-15:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
A3 Monday 16:00-17:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
A5 Tuesday 14:00-15:50 9-13, 15-22
AND one stream from
B1 Thursday 09:00-10:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
B2 Thursday 14:00-15:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
B3 Thursday 16:00-17:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
B5 Friday 14:00-15:50 9-12, 15-22