/ COMP1321
Digital Infrastructures/Architectures
Module Outline
Semesters 1&2 2015/16
Module Tutors: / Richard Henson
Contact details: / , CH1005, int tel: 5397
Academic Liaison Librarian: / Stephanie Allen ()
Time: / Wednesday 1515-1815
Venue: / LG022
Verified by: / Peter Moody
Electronic copy available: / http://staffweb.worc.ac.uk/hensonr and Blackboard


1.  What will I be able to do when I have passed this module?

On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:

1.  Describe a range of digital platforms and networks and explain the context for use of each platform

2.  Apply tools involving digital hardware and digital logic to solve real world problems

3.  Explore the contents of a digital storage medium using computer forensic software and extract information that could be used as evidence

4.  Apply networking principles to provide connectivity between digital devices on a range of platforms that can be used for sharing data and control of processes

5.  Use penetration testing software, in accordance with relevant standards and legislation, to identify vulnerabilities in a digital network

2.  How will this module enhance my future employability?

This module will enable you to develop and enhance the following which are highly sought by employers:

·  Application of relevant knowledge: you will build a knowledge base in this subject area and will be able to apply it to real-world situations

·  Research and problem solving: you will be able to develop and apply principles of research and problem-solving, that can be brought to bear on real world situations involving hardware platforms, peripherals, networking, and applications such as computer forensics and cybersecurity

·  Team working: you will work in a team some practical activities, and teams will have to work co-operatively to achieve the desired goal.

·  Self-awareness: through teamwork, completing assignments, and carefully studying feedback obtained, you will become aware of relevant strengths and weaknesses, and can take action regarding any apparent weaknesses.

3.  How is this module relevant to my overall course?

Each module and each level of your course progressively builds toward higher order skills and capabilities that you will need to achieve the best results in life. If you do not understand how this module fits into the overall course, do discuss with your tutors/ course leaders.

4.  How is this module assessed?

The assessment for this module is based on two assignments, as below. Further details of the assessment items and submission requirements will be notified during the module sessions.

Assessment / Weighting / Learning outcomes assessed / Submission date / Return Date
Assignment 1: Report / 3000 words (50%) / 1, 2, 3 / 3pm, 14/1/16 / 11/2/16
Assignment 2: Practical Task/Report / 3000 words (50%) / 4, 5 / 3pm, 12/5/16 / 10/6/16

Indicative Schedule

Semester 1

UMS Wk / w/c / Topic / Learning activities / Preparation & Challenges
4 / 21/09/2015 / Induction Week
5 / 28/09/2015 / History of Computers: from stone age to digital age; from massive mainframes to smart phones / Investigations of early computers and their applications, and effects of miniaturisation & computerisation on computing / Murdocca & Heuring
ch. 1
6 / 05/10/2015 / Digital Logic & Logic Gates / Use of the SAM simulator to demonstrate how CPU can do calculations / Newman et al
ch. 2
7 / 12/10/2015 / Computer Architecture; Memory and Storage / More sophisticated use of SAM to use “registers” for storing data within CPU / Newman et al
ch 3, 4
8 / 19/10/2015 / How CPU works, data representation, the fetch-execute cycle, machine language / Demonstration of fetch-execute cycle, instruction sets, and machine code/assembly language / Murdocca & Heuring
ch. 2
9 / 26/10/2015 / Motherboards, memory, and i/o: architecture from Altair to Arduino & Raspberry Pi. Guest Speaker / Exemplar CPU families, and application of strategies for getting input & output data to/from the CPU for very rapid processing / Blundell ch. 4
Newman et al, ch. 4
10 / 02/11/2015 / Data Storage and Filing Systems, structuring data for saving to and retrieving from storage media (building on COMP1211); / Use of tools to investigate how a file is stored on a hard disk, and how such software can be used for forensic purposes / Newman et al, ch. 8
Murdocca & Heuring
ch. 8
12 / 09/11/2015 / Forensic computing, and a more detailed look at the way contents of a hard disk can be used to obtain evidence for courts. Guest speaker / Using tools to directly interact with data on a hard disk to gather evidence to support criminal cases, and illegal computer use / Carrier: whole book relevant
11 / 16/11/2015 / WBS Future Week and Awards Ceremonies
13 / 23/11/2015 / Peripherals / Practice in connecting input and output devices to motherboards in a variety of ways, and using software “drivers” to allow CPU to control those peripherals / Blundell, chs. 8, 11
14 / 30/11/2015 / Embedded Systems: use of computers in everyday appliances. Programming Embedded Systems / Demonstration and practice of writing programs for upload to ROM storage; programs then used via user interface to move “turtles” / Insam, Arduino website
15 / 7/12/2015 / More detailed look at embedded systems and the real world, and the relentless demand for programming… / Exercises in writing programs that can be used with chosen CPUs to control a range of different operations and enough programming and uploading/testing exercises to keep you occupied until semester 2 starts… / Insam, Arduino website Raspberry Pi website
16 / 14/12/2015 / Christmas vacation
17 / 21/12/2015
18 / 28/12/2015
19 / 04/01/2016 / Activity Week
20 / 11/01/2016 / Activity week – assignment 1, 14th January 2016, 3 pm
21 / 18/01/2016 / Assessment week for Semester 1 modules

Specific support for your assignments is also provided via Richard Henson’s website http://staffweb.worc.ac.uk/hensonr and other on-line resources available via his website.

Semester 2:

UMS Wk / w/c / Lecture / Seminar / Reading
22 / 25/01/2016 / WBS Future Week
23 / 01/02/2016 / Communications between two digital devices / Practical attempts to prepare two devices for linking together and then physically connecting them, using different ports and different software installation methods / Irving ch. 3
24 / 08/02/2016 / Multiple devices, multiple paths and Routing; TCP, IP, and network protocols / Naming, addressing (ie IP), and physically connecting computers so they can exchange data / Irving ch. 3
25 / 15/02/2016 / Client-Server and Peer-Peer networks / Elevating status to server and domain controller; connecting computers to domains / Irving ch. 3
26 / 22/02/2016 / Standards and Network standards; software layers, protocol stacks and "abstraction", / Checking for network connectivity between computers by systematically checking at different layers / Irving ch 4, 6, Suehring ch. 1, 2
27 / 29/02/2016 / OSI Model and interconnected networks / Linking domains together, and passing data between domains / Comer ch. 15, 20,
28 / 07/03/2016 / The Physical layer: transmission media, network hardware, cabling, wireless, and connection systems / Using crossover cables, hubs, routers, etc. to connect computers together which use different protocols at different OSI layers / Irving, ch 4, 5
29 / 14/03/2016 / Servers, resources, and system management / Installation of software for server to fulfil essential network management roles / Comer, Irving ch. 10
30 / 21/03/2016 / Easter Break
31 / 28/03/2016
32 / 04/04/2016 / File/resource/service security and user administration / tbc / Suehring, ch 8
Cheswick et al ch 2, 3, 4
33 / 11/04/2016 / Groups and controlling the user desktop with Active Directory / tbc / Suehring, ch. 8
34 / 18/04/2016 / Network management with active directory / Practice on managing users and resources with active directory and group policy / tbc
35 / 25/04/2016 / Network security testing / Suehring, ch. 8
36 / 02/05/2016* / Principles of Ethical Hacking & Non-invasive Penetration Testing / Cheswick et al,
ch. 5, 6, 7
37 / 09/05/2016 / Hand in - Assignment 2, 12th May, 2016
38 / 16/05/2016 / Assessment & marking week…

5.  What are the learning resources I should refer to for this module?

Recommended Texts

Blundell, B. G. (2007) Computer Hardware Thomson Learning (also available as e-book)

Patterson D & Hennessy J, 2013, “Computer Organisation & Design”, Morgan-Kaufmann

Seminal Articles – see RH’s website http://staffweb.worc.ac.uk/hensonr

Essential reading (Students will be expected to read relevant chapters from selected works for particular sessions)

Blundell, B. G., Khan, N., Lasebae, A. and Jabber, M. (2007) Computer Systems and Networks Thomson Learning

Bradford, R. (2007) The Art of Computer Networking Prentice Hall (e-book)

Carrier B, (2005), File System Forensic Analysis., Pearson

Cheswick, W R; Bellovin, S M; Rubin, D , (2003), “Firewalls and Internet Security: repelling the wily hacker”, 2nd edition

Comer, D. (2014) Computer Networks and Internets (6th edition) Pearson

Comer, D. (2006) The Internet Book: Everything You Need to Know about Computer Networking and How the Internet Works (4th edition) Prentice Hall

Derfler, F. and Freed, L. (2004) How Networks Work (7th edition) Que

Insam M, 2003, TCP/IP embedded Internet applications, Newnes

Gralla, P. (2006) How the Internet Works (8th edition) Que

Hillis, W.D. (1999) The Pattern on the Stone, Basic Books

Howe, D. (2011) FOLDOC (Free On-Line Dictionary Of Computing) online at http://foldoc.org/ (accessed 5.9.12)

Irving, P. (2010) Computer Networks (3rd edition) Lexden

Murdocca M & Heuring V, 2007, “Computer Architecture and Organisation”, Wiley

Newman, R. M., Gaura, E. and Hibbs, D. (2008) Computer Systems Architecture (revised edition) Lexden

Odom, W. (2004) Computer Networking First-step Cisco Press

Siddhartha R, (2012), SAMS teach yourself C++ in one hour a day, 7th Edition

Sportack, M. A. (2004) TCP/IP First Step, Cisco Press.

Suehring, S, (2008), Administering Windows Networks, Wiley

White, R. and Downs, T. E. (2014) How Computers Work (10th edition) Que

White, C. M. (2008) Data Communications and Computer Networks (5th edition) Thomson

Further reading: HowStuffWorks, Inc. (2015) “Howstuffworks: Computer” online at (accessed 18.9.15) http://computer.howstuffworks.com/

Previous feedback from this module indicated That students were very supportive of this module, and the opportunities presented through it. Students were not happy having to share resources with other students in semester 2, because their settings were altered. The whole setup has been changed for 2015-16 so that the networks exercises in semester 2 are done virtually (using packet tracer software) in one of the main labs.

Harvard Citing and Referencing Guide

Available at http://www.worc.ac.uk/ils/documents/Harvard_referencing.pdf

Procedures for Dealing with Exceptional Mitigating Circumstances

Available at http://www.worcester.ac.uk/registryservices/679.htm

Professional Code of Practice and Conduct

In order to enhance your future employability as well as the quality of your learning experience, this module seeks to encourage professional behaviour in class, which echoes professional standards in the workplace. Full details of the School’s Professional Code of Practice and Conduct can be found on Blackboard.


The University of Worcester is committed to following a complete carbon management programme and reducing its carbon footprint. You are asked to respect this and are encouraged to recycle and minimise the use of disposable items. We aim to reduce paper output and therefore module resources will, where possible, be available in electronic format only.

6.  Key Questions to help you achieve good results?

Throughout the year, it is important for students to ask themselves the question – is my potential being fulfilled? (see below. You might want to tick the answer column at the right)

Am I challenging myself and others around me?
Have I prepared early and managed my assessment workload?
Have I prepared for my seminars and lectures to contribute to the learning experience for my peers and tutors?
Have I adequately used and understood feedback through discussions with my academic tutor, other tutors?
Do I understand what the expectations are of me at this level? (Each level from 1st year UG to PG is different)
When in doubt, did I seek guidance/clarification - about the module, assessment, the year, in a timely manner?

What Students love about this module: Students were very enthusiastic about the range of computer systems, networks, forensics, and security topics covered, and the availability of hand-on practical facilities.

Previous feedback from this module indicated

Harvard Citing and Referencing Guide

Available at http://www.worcester.ac.uk/ils/documents/Harvard_referencing.pdf

Procedures for Dealing with Exceptional Mitigating Circumstances

Available at http://www.worcester.ac.uk/registryservices/679.htm

Professional Code of Practice and Conduct

In order to enhance your future employability as well as the quality of your learning experience, this module seeks to encourage professional behaviour in class, which echoes professional standards in the workplace. Full details of the School’s Professional Code of Practice and Conduct can be found on Blackboard.


The University of Worcester is committed to addressing sustainability in its broad sense as reflected in the University Strategic Plan (to 2018) as an area of Distinction and in its national reputation in the top five of the People & Planet University League - http://peopleandplanet.org/green-league-2013/tables. Do consider this in the actions taken in the modules and generally in campus life.


Learning & Teaching Issues:

Q: How will this module be taught?

A: Sessions will consist of a range of tutor and student inputs and demonstrations, followed by a workshop. These may include: group discussions, presentations, practical activities, reflective summaries, peer and tutor feedback. In addition, links from RH’s website will enable discussion outside the formal class hours and form a repository for all module materials. You will be expected to practice the skills learned and participate in private research between the formal sessions. There will be tutorial sessions where guidance can be sought.

Q: What resources are available to support this module?

A: The range of sources includes:

·  The Blackboard Learning System – where you will find module, course and other useful information from your tutors, student academic representatives (StARs) and librarian. You will find a link from the module blackboard page to RH’s website