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The Essentials of Computer Organization and Architecture, Third Edition

Author(s): Linda Null, PhD, Pennsylvania State University
Julia Lobur, Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania
  • ISBN-13: 9781449600068
  • Hardcover    844 pages      © 2012
Price: International Sales $205.95 US List
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Instructor resources are available for download under the Resources tab below.

Updated and revised with the latest data in the field, The Essentials of Computer Organization and Architecture, Third Edition is a comprehensive resource that addresses all of the necessary organization and architecture topics, yet is appropriate for the one-term course.  This best-selling text correlates to the 2008 ACM-IEEE Computer Science Curriculum update and exposes readers to the inner workings of a modern digital computer through an integrated presentation of fundamental concepts and principles. The authors present real-world examples and focus on practical applications, thus encouraging students to develop a "big picture" understanding of how essential organization and architecture concepts are applied in the world of computing.

Preview Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 now!  Scroll to the Samples tab to preview chapters and to download the MARIEsimulator version 3.0.

The Essentials of Computer Organization and Architecture, Third Edition was recently awarded a "Textbook Excellence Award" (“Texty”) from the Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA) the only association devoted solely to serving textbook and academic authors since 1987 ( The "Textbook Excellence Award" recognizes works for their excellence in the areas of content, presentation, appeal, and teachability. This is the second Texty award for Null and Lobur, their first award was for the Second Edition of this text.

Features & Benefits

  • Provides students with in-depth coverage of the appropriate core concepts, while still offering the necessary exposure to less critical concepts, thus allowing students to see the whole picture
  • Presents material in a logical progression, starting with low-level hardware and progressing to higher-lever software, including assemblers and operating systems
  • Correlates to the 2008 ACM-IEEE Computer Science Curriculum update
  • Includes real-world examples to provide students with a better understanding of how technology and techniques are combined for practical applications
  • Contains new exercises within the text to reflect ACM-IEEE CS2008 
  • Instructor’s resources include a complete instructor’s manual, lecture outline, sample test questions, and Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides
  • The MARIE Simulator package allows students to learn the essential concepts of computer organization and architecture, including assembly language, without getting caught up in unnecessary and confusing details.
  • Can be bundled with an Intel supplement

Applicable Courses

Written for the Computer Organization and Architecture course taught at the college and university level.

Chapter  1  Introduction
Chapter  2  Data Representation in Computer Systems
Chapter  3   Boolean Algebra and Digital Logic
Chapter  4  MARIE: An Introduction to a Simple Computer
Chapter  5  A Closer Look at Instruction Set Architecture
Chapter  6  Memory
Chapter  7  Input/Output and Storage Systems
Chapter  8  System Software
Chapter  9  Alternative Architectures
Chapter  10  Topics in Embedded Systems
Chapter  11  Performance Measurement and Analysis
Chapter  12  Network Organization and Architecture
Chapter  13  Selected Storage Systems and Interfaces

Linda Null, PhD-Pennsylvania State University

Linda Null received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Iowa State University in 1991, an M.S. in Computer Science from Iowa State University in 1989, an M.S. in Computer Science Education from Northwest Missouri State University in 1983, an M.S. in Mathematics Education from Northwest Missouri State University in 1980, and a B.S. in Mathematics and English from Northwest Missouri State University in 1977. She has been teaching mathematics and computer science for over 25 years and is currently the Computer Science graduate program coordinator at Penn State Harrisburg, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1995. Professor Null was recently presented Penn State's Award for Excellence in Teaching in recognition of her innovative and outstanding work in the classroom, as well as the Kathryn Towns Award in recognition of her commitment to the issues and interests of women students, particularly those in mathematics and computer science. Her areas of interest include computer organization and architecture, operating systems, and computer security.

Julia Lobur-Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania

Julia has been a practitioner in the computer industry for over 20 years. She has held positions as a systems consultant, a staff programmer/analyst, a systems and network designer, and a software development manager.

  • "This book is an excellent introduction to what makes up a modern PC and how it came to be designed that way. It's difficult to write a book like this as you can never tell just how much your students already know and how much depth you need to give them...All in all, I think the authors have done a very good job of introducing the student to the structure of a PC."

    -John Matlock

The following instructor resources are available to qualified instructors for download

ISBN-13: 9781449600068

Image Bank
Instructor Manual
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MARIEsimulator version 3.0


Download all the files you need to assemble and run MARIE programs. For more information about the MARIE architecture please consult your textbook. Enclosed in this zip file are:
1. MarieSim.jar (java jar file for the simulator)
2. MarieSource.jar (the source file for the simulator)
3. README.txt
4. MarieGuide.doc (a user's guide in WORD format)
5. MarieGuide.pdf (a user’s guide in PDF format)

Version 3.0 is now available.  Please check back periodically to ensure that you are using the latest version.

Download the MARIEsimulator version 3.0 under the Samples & Additional Resources tab above.


Essentials of Computer Organization and Architecture 3e with An Introduction to Intel Assembly Language

Bundle ISBN: 9781449645878
This bundle includes The Essentials of Computer Organization and Architecture, Third Edition with An Introduction to Intel Assembly Language. An Introduction to Intel Assembly Language is a 90-page manual for those who desire a deeper examination of assembly language programming.