MSc in Networking and Internet Systems

Introduction to Computing Systems Module

Module aims

The aim of the module is to outline key concepts in modern operating and distributed systems.

The student course pages are available on the Lancaster University Virtual Learning Envornment.


  • Basic computer architecture: CPUs, memory, buses, interrupts, I/O, nstruction set design, classification, factors impacting performance, caching and pipelining, memory management hardware.
  • Concurrent programming: motivation; mutual exclusion and condition synchronisation; synchronisation primitives.
  • Operating systems: internal OS structure; file management; device drivers; memory management; process management: scheduling and threads, process management in Unix; OSs for multiprocessors; parallel I/O; case studies.
  • Distributed Systems: what is a distributed system, why distributed systems, potential problems, the client server paradigm, distributed systems platforms; remopte procedure calls; fault-tolerance, replication and other services.

Recommended Reading

  • Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface. David A. Patterson and John L. Hennessy. Morgan Kaufmann, third edition, 2004.
  • Distributed Systems: Principles and Paradigms Andrew S. Tanenbaum and Maarten van Steen, Prentice Hall