ITNP023 - Foundations of Information Technology


Dr Andrea Bracciali, Room 4B86, email
Professor Evan Magill, Room 4B84, email
Dr Gabriela Ochoa, Room 4B104, email gabriela.ochoa[at]



Learning Outcomes

A basic understanding of fundamental topics in Computing Science, including the operation of computer systems and networks at all levels of abstraction. In particular,

  • machine architecture and operating systems
  • algorithms, efficiency, and the limits of computation
  • software engineering
  • professional and ethical issues

Students will demonstrate an ability to apply theory and techniques to unseen problems (without reference to notes), to work independently, and to work under a time constraint.

Transferable Skills

  • understanding and use of modern computer systems
  • ability to informally estimate the relative efficiency and performance of systems
  • ability to deal with complex ethical and professional issues in the profession of Computer Science
  • a critical understanding of theories and concepts in modern computer systems
  • ability to communicate with peers and more senior colleagues
  • ability to research topics independently and present results
  • apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to current issues in computer systems


  • Computer System Architecture and Operation
    • Basic machine architecture
    • Data representation on machines
    • Operating systems


  • Algorithms, Efficiency, and the Limits of Computation
    • Algorithms; The concept of an algorithm; its representation and efficiency
    • The limits of computation: non-computable problems


  • The Software Engineering Process
    • The software life cycle
    • Project planning and management


  • Professional Issues


This module is 15 credits at SCQF level 11.


There are two assessment components for this module - an assignment worth 40% and an exam worth 60%.

In order to be considered for a pass grade for the module you must:

  • Submit the assessed coursework
  • Attend the examination.

Further details will be provided in due course.


Work which is submitted for assessment must be your own work. All students should note that the University has a formal policy on plagiarism which can be found at

Plagiarism means presenting the work of others as though it were your own. The University takes a very serious view of plagiarism, and the penalties can be severe (ranging from a reduced grade in the assessment, through a fail grade for the module, to expulsion from the University for more serious, or repeated, offences). Specific guidance in relation to Computing Science assignments may be found in the Postgraduate Student Handbook.

Prescribed Classes

This module has no prescribed classes.

Computer Science: An Overview, J. G. Brookshear, latest edition, Addison-Wesley (strongly recommended)

Professional Issues in Software Engineering, F Bott et al, second edition, UCL press (background)

Further information and teaching materials for this module.

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