ArmEducationX: Introduction to Microprocessors
An introduction to computer architecture, microprocessors and CPUs. Learn about the basic components of a PC, what they do, how they talk to each other and how object code gets transformed into machine code. The topics covered by this course are key to anyone interested in computer hardware engineering but also an essential foundation for software programming.
There is one session available:
Introduction to Microprocessors
About this courseSkip About this course
Want to understand how the central processing unit (CPU) of a microprocessor works? How the code you type is actually executed by your computer? Presented by engineers from Arm, this course provides you with an introduction to the central components of processors including:
- the Arithmetic Logic Unit, or ALU, and the arithmetic and logical operations it carries out;
- the Fetch-Decode-Execute cycle or FDE within different architectures;
- pipelining, or how a CPU decides what to prioritise and the challenges faced when doing so;
- types of memory and their uses;
- the process that high level code, such as C#, goes through to get converted into machine code;
- assembly code, an interim step between high level and machine level code; and
- how assembling and compiling work together to produce object code or executable files.
There is also a practical opportunity to be introduced to an assembly language.
At a glance
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
You will learn:
- The purpose, specs, components and activities of a CPU
- The differences and uses of RAM, ROM, and cache memory
- The purpose and activities of buses and registers
- Opcode, operands and memory addresses
- The purpose and operations of an arithmetic logic unit
- The fetch-decode-execute cycle
- The need for assembly and machine code
- Basic conversion of assembly code to machine code
Module 1: Introduction to the CPU
An introduction to the CPU, the importance of binary in Computing, and the central components of processors.
Module 2 The ALU and Decode Unit
An exploration of the Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU), the arithmetical and logical operations it carries out, often on a bit-by-bit level.
Module 3 The Fetch-Decode-Execute Cycle
A discussion of the Fetch-Execute or Fetch-Decode-Execute cycle (FDE). Consideration of some elements which impact the performance of the CPU, the connecting types of memory, and pipelining.
Module 4 Assembly Language
Discussion of the need for machine code and the process to convert object code to machine code. A practical introduction to assembly language through the BSim emulator.
Learner testimonialsSkip Learner testimonials
"Excellent introduction to microprocessors" Isabel Culmer, school/K-12 teacher in Computing and winner of the David Clark prize for teaching engineering
"Clear, concise and focused" Christian Broadway, Programme Director (Electronic Engineering) at Aston University, UK
"Very insightful and a good reinforcement of concepts I learnt at university and previous studies" Pradhay Amarnath, Software Engineering university/college student
"I took a System Architecture module (beginner level) as part of my university studies, and my learning experience would have improved greatly if this course was available back then." Mai Pham, Central Engineering, Arm