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Computer & Networks syllabus

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Certificate in IT Syllabus
Computer & Network Technology Rationale: This module provides a foundation for all professional computer personnel in computer technology and related topics, in particular the areas of: number systems, hardware, operating systems, systems software, networks and system performance measurement.

Aims:    To develop an understanding of the principles underlying the construction of computer systems To introduce the fundamental building blocks of all digital computers and the operating principles of computer peripherals To evaluate critically the performance data quoted for computer systems

Objectives:         Use Boolean algebra and other digital design techniques to construct the basic circuits such as adders used to build computers Use low-level instructions and addressing modes to construct a simple program Read the technical specification of a PC system, interpret the performance indicators, and explain their significance to non-computer personnel Appreciate the importance of the memory hierarchy of a computer system and its peripherals Describe the operating principles of commonly used peripheral devices, their characteristics and performance Understand the role of system software Use the Internet to find information on the performance of computer systems and trends in computer systems Understand the way in which digital information is transmitted across networks, the characteristics of data paths and the need for modulation

Prior Knowledge Expected: None

Content: FUNDAMENTALS Number representation (e.g. binary, hexadecimal) and the conversion between bases Representation of negative numbers, fractional numbers, and floating point numbers

Gates: AND, OR, NAND, NOR, EOR, inverter Sequential logic elements: D flip-flops, RS flip-flops, JK flip-flops Simple logic circuits: Full adder, multiplexer, shift register, counter Boolean algebra, simplification of logic equations, truth tables PROCESSOR ARCHITECTURE The concept of a stored program and the fetch/execute cycle Structure of the CPU at the level of registers, buses, and functional units Instruction formats (one-, two-, three-address; register-to-register machines and load/store machines) Typical computer instructions (data movement, arithmetical and logical, flow control) Trends in processor technology Information storage: The memory hierarchy from cache to secondary storage The operation of both magnetic and optical storage devices, their performance and characteristics The characteristics and performance of peripherals; for example, display devices, printers, keyboards etc Input/output techniques: peripheral polling and interrupt driven I/O INTRODUCTION TO OPERATING SYSTEMS AND SYSTEM SOFTWARE The human interface Multitasking: interrupts, concurrency, scheduling, memory management System software: Internet browsers, email systems, security products (e.g. anti virus software) System performance and its evaluation: definition, measurement and benchmark NETWORKS Communication principles: characteristics of transmission media, LAN, WAN, Wi-Fi and wireless technologies Protocols for data transmission: ISO 7-layer model for OSI The data link layer and typical protocols

Communications equipment: modems, routers and bridges The Internet Malware: viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware and their effect on system reliability and performance Future trends in computer communications

Primary Texts: Capron, H. L., Computers (Tools for an Information Age), Prentice Hall (8th Ed), 2003, ISBN: 0131405640 Introductory book – sets the module in context. Also covers systems software. Clements, A., The Principles of Computer Hardware, Oxford University Press (4th Ed), 2006, ISBN: 0198564538 Covers fundamentals and architecture in detail. Tanenbaum, Andrew, S., Modern Operating Systems, Prentice Hall (3rd Ed), 2008, ISBN 0138134596 Covers operating systems and some networks.

Other Texts: Comer, D. E., Internet Book, The: Everything You Need to Know About Computer Networking and How the Internet Works, Prentice Hall (4th Ed), 2007, ISBN: 0132335530 Halsall, F., Computer Networking and the Internet, Addison Wesley (5th Ed), 2005, ISBN: 0321263588 Covers the networks material in considerable depth. Tanenbaum A. S., Computer Networks, Prentice Hall (4th Ed), 2003, ISBN: 0130384887

Other Reading: Students are expected to access a wide range of sources of information on IT hardware/software including journals, popular computer magazines, and the internet.

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