Memory Systems

Course Description

As an unavoidable part of computer systems, memory has an important role in overall system performance and data safe keeping. This course develops the knowledge for understanding, evaluating and designing of memory systems; it also informs the participants about the memory components, their architecture and characteristics, ranging from semiconductor memories to high-level storage systems. The goal of the course is to promote understanding of different levels of the storage hierarchy, its impacts on the rest of the computer system, as well as to foster acquiring knowledge to successfully design and deploy storage devices for production environments, and introduce new concepts and management issues.

General Competencies

Students will develop a deep understanding of essential concepts in design, implementation, and use of memory systems, and gain a descriptive and analytic introduction to semiconductor memories, magnetic and non-magnetic data storage. Students will be able to analyze and evaluate storage devices characteristics and operation, and to apply different approaches to improve and design reliable memory systems.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Discuss the design of memory hierarchies and their effects on performance.
  2. Explain the principles of modern semiconductor and magnetic memories.
  3. Apply modern memory system design techniques
  4. Design cache and virtual memory systems.
  5. Evaluate cache coherence algorithms.
  6. Use reliable storage systems.
  7. Assess memory systems performance.

Forms of Teaching


This course will consist of two 45-minute lectures per week. Lectures will emphasize main concepts illustrated with examples, solutions and topic discussions.


There will be two exams - a mid-term (20% of final grade) and a final (45%). Homework assignments, short quizzes and class participations are gradaded as well.


Consultation with the instructor will be avaliable in predefined terms and e-lerning system.

Internship visits

Students will visit some data centre and will be introduced with storage organisation.

Grading Method

Continuous Assessment Exam
Type Threshold Percent of Grade Threshold Percent of Grade
Homeworks 60 % 25 % 50 % 25 %
Quizzes 0 % 4 % 0 % 0 %
Class participation 0 % 6 % 0 % 0 %
Mid Term Exam: Written 50 % 20 % 0 %
Final Exam: Written 50 % 45 %
Exam: Written 50 % 55 %
Exam: Oral 20 %

Week by Week Schedule

  1. Introduction. Terminology. Definitions. Hierarchical memory system.
  2. Cache memories. Cache coherence. Memory System Organization. Static semiconductor memory.
  3. High speed dynamic memory architectures: SDRAM, DDR, RAMBUS, FCRAM.
  4. Non-violate and permanent memory. ROM, EPROM, Flash, FERAM, MRAM.
  5. Memory Testing, Reliability, and Performance.
  6. Direct access memory devices. Disk Drive Trends. Principles of magnetic recording.
  7. Midterm exam
  8. Hard disk organisation, RLL codes, PRML, data organization.
  9. Optical and magneto optical memories characteristics and applications. CD-ROM, DVD, MO, holographic memories.
  10. Information dispersal. RAID. Interconnect standards: IDE, SATA, SCSI, HIPPI, ISCSI, FC.
  11. Virtual memory. Advanced file systems concepts. Data coherence.
  12. Advanced storage systems. NAS, SAN.
  13. Memory management. Virtualization, Consolidation, Storage Security, Reliability, Availability.
  14. Capacity planning and configuration, Back-up management, Disaster recovery, Future trends.
  15. Final exam

Study Programmes

University graduate
Computer Engineering (profile)
Specialization Course (1. semester) (3. semester)
Computer Science (profile)
Recommended elective courses (3. semester)


A. K. Sharma (2003.), Advanced Semiconductor Memories: Architectures, Designs and Applications, Wiley-IEEE Press
J.M. May (2001.), Parallel I/O for High-Performance Computing, Morgan Kaufman
R.Buyya. T. Cortes, Hjin (2001.), High Performance Mass Storage and Parallel I/O: Technologies and Applications, Wiley-IEEE Press


ID 34520
  Winter semester
L2 English Level
L1 e-Learning
30 Lectures
0 Exercises
0 Laboratory exercises
0 Project laboratory

Grading System

90 Excellent
75 Very Good
60 Good
50 Acceptable