TDT4160 - Computer Fundamentals


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: School exam
Grade: Letter grades

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
School exam 100/100 4 hours D

Course content

The course will contain terminology, principles, and concepts for the construction and operation of different kinds of modern computers and other computer-related equipment. Basic methods, analysis, and design of sequential logic and finite state machines. Principles of how computers (and other digital machines) are constructed from combinatoric and sequential logic logic blocks. Short historical overview of the evolution of computer technology. Architecture (organization), operation, and realization of computers and computer systems. Construction of computers on different levels, instruction format, address modes, processor architecture and types, Hardware and software interface, connection of components, interrupts, busses, storage hierarchy, and cache. Examination of central computer technical equipment (peripheral units). A short introduction to distributed systems, embedded systems, parallel computers, new technologies, and new applications will be given.

Learning outcome


  • The student should know how computers work and how they are constructed.
  • The student should know the basic principles of design and analysis of sequential digital logic and finite-state machines.
  • The student should know how a simple processor is constructed.
  • The student should understand the interface between hardware and software.
  • The student should know of central peripheral units.
  • The student should understand how abstraction and structure are used to handle complexity in computer systems.


  • The student should be able to write simple programs in an assembly language.
  • The student should be able to construct basic sequential digital logic and finite state machines from digital components such as gates and flip-flops.
  • The student should be able to read schematics and block diagrams.
  • The student should be able to see how schematics and block diagrams at different levels of abstraction relate to each other.

General competence:

  • The student should understand the general operation of a computer and be able to use this knowledge in projects at all abstraction levels.

Learning methods and activities

Lectures and exercises.

Compulsory assignments

  • Exercises

Further on evaluation

If there is a re-sit examination, the examination form may change from written to oral.

Course materials

Patterson and Hennessy, Computer Organization and Design RISC-V Edition: The Hardware Software Interface (2nd Edition), Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2020, Paperback ISBN: 9780128203316, eBook ISBN: 9780128245583

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
SIF8026 7.5
IT2201 7.5 SPRING 2006
TFE4105 3.7 AUTUMN 2010
More on the course

Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Intermediate course, level II


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2024

Language of instruction: Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Informatics
  • Technological subjects
Contact information
Course coordinator:

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Computer Science


Examination arrangement: School exam

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD School exam 100/100 D INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Summer UTS School exam 100/100 D INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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