COMP SCI 2000 - Computer Systems

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2020

This course introduces the elements of computer systems from the level of basic hardware gates, through to compilers, languages and applications. The aim is to give an overview of the layered nature of computer systems and how the use of simple interfaces can make the design of complex and powerful systems possible. Topics covered include: digital logic, memory, processors, assembly language, virtual machines, recursive descent parsing, code generation and operating systems.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code COMP SCI 2000
    Course Computer Systems
    Coordinating Unit Computer Science
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 2.5 hours per weeks
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites One of COMP SCI 1007, COMP SCI 1009, COMP SCI 1102, COMP SCI 1202, COMP SCI 2202 or COMP SCI 2202B
    Assumed Knowledge MATHS 1012 or MATHS 1004 or MATHS 1008
    Assessment Written exam and/or assignments
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Alfred Fred Brown

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Demonstrate an understanding of the layered and modular nature of computer systems
    2 Design the core components of a computer from basic components
    3 Understand and Apply knowledge of how computers represent programs and data
    4 Explain how a computer executes a program
    5 Write assembler and machine code
    6 Understand the translation process from higher level representations into machine language
    7 Explain how Input/output operations are implemented, and describe some basic I/O devices

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer.
    The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency: 1.1   1.2   1.3   1.5   1.6   2.1   2.2   2.3   3.1   3.2   3.3   3.4   3.5   

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The textbook for the course is: The Elements of Computing Systems, by Noam Nisan and Shimon Shocken, MIT Press, 2008, ISBN13-978-0-262-64068-8.

    It is highly recommended that you buy this book. It is available in soft cover form and available electronically as an e-book.

    The first six chapters of are on the Nand2Tetris website used by the course but we will be using materials in chapters beyond this.

    Online Learning
    The primary electronic resource for the course is the MyUni pages. These pages link to other electronic resources you will need such as the web submission system.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    The course will be taught using a combination of lectures, quizzes, workshops, optional exercises and programming assignments.

    You are expected to read the relevant chapters of the text book before and after each lecture, and to actively participate in class activities.

    The quizzes will be open for a limited period only. Please check the course website regularly so you do not miss the quiz due dates.

    To get the most out of the workshop sessions you need to prepare in advance and make sure that you focus on the workshop material during the workshop. This is the best time to get direct feedback on and assistance with the practical skills covered in the workshop. If you do not attend the workshops and ask questions, you may not be properly prepared for the programming assignments.

    Some of the first five projects from the Nand2Tetris course may be available as optional exercises that can be submitted to the Web Submission System.

    The programming assigments build on the practical skills demonstrated in the workshops and give you an opportunity to demonstrate what you are learning.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    You are expected to spend 10 hours per week on the course. This includes:
    • attending all of your enrolled classes,
    • up to 2 hours per week on lecture preparation / review,
    • up to 5 hours per week on the assignments and workshop preparation, and
    • any remaining time working on the following week's material.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The lecture topics, quizzes, workshop descriptions and assignment descriptions are all available on the course website.

    A schedule is available on the course website but specific due dates are only available in each quizz, workshop description or assignment description.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Learning outcomes CBOK Alignment**
    Online Lecture Review Quizzes + Individual Formative 1 to 12 1. 3. 6. 1.2 3.1
    Workshops + Individual Formative 1 to 12 1. 2. 3. 5. 6. 1.1 1.2 3.1 3.2 4.1
    Nand2Tetris Projects + Individual Formative 2 to 5 1. 2. 3. 5. 6. 1.1 1.2 3.1 3.2 4.1
    Assignments^+ 40 Individual Formative 7, 9, 12 1. 2. 3. 5. 6. 1.1 1.2 3.1 3.2 4.1
    Exam Quizzes 30 Individual Summative 8, 10, 13 1. 4. 7. 1.1 1.2 3.1 3.2 4.1
    Practical Exams 30 Individual Summative 8, 10, 13 1. 2. 3. 5. 6. 1.1 1.2 3.1 3.2 4.1
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.

    ^ The assignments are mandatory.

    + The online lecture review quizzes, workshop activities, Nand2Tetris projects and early submission of assignments may contribute to a bonus mark of up to 10%.

    This assessment breakdown complies with the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.

    **CBOK is the Core Body of Knowledge for ICT Professionals defined by the Australian Computer Society. The alignment in the table above corresponds with the following CBOK Areas:

    1. Problem Solving
    1.1 Abstraction
    1.2 Design

    2. Professional Knowledge
    2.1 Ethics
    2.2 Professional expectations
    2.3 Teamwork concepts & issues
    2.4 Interpersonal communications
    2.5 Societal issues
    2.6 Understanding of ICT profession

    3. Technology resources
    3.1 Hardware & Software
    3.2 Data & information
    3.3 Networking

    4. Technology Building
    4.1 Programming
    4.2 Human factors
    4.3 Systems development
    4.4 Systems acquisition

    5.  ICT Management
    5.1 IT governance & organisational
    5.2 IT project management
    5.3 Service management 
    5.4 Security management

    Due to the current COVID-19 situation modified arrangements have been made to assessments to facilitate remote learning and teaching. Assessment details provided here reflect recent updates.

    To support the changes to teaching, the following revisions to assessment have been made:-

    Assignment 1 will be worth 5%
    Assignment 3 will be worth 25% (increased from 15%)

    In teaching week 8 there will be an exam quiz at 9am on Tuesday (5 May 2020) and a practical exam at 10am on Thursday (7 May 2020). The quizzes and practical exams will be open for one hour and each will be worth 10%.

    In teaching week 13 there will be an exam quiz at 9am on Tuesday (9 June 2020) and a practical exam at 10am on Thursday (11 June 2020). The quizzes and practical exams will be open for one hour and each will be worth 10%.

    The Schedule and Remote Learning Pathway have been modified to reflect these changes.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Additional Assessment: All assignments are mandatory. A submission must be made for each assignment within one week of its due date or any opportunity for an additional assessment may be denied.
    Assessment Detail
    There will be three exam quizzes held in weeks 8, 10 and 13. These will test your understanding of the lecture, workshop and assignment material. Each exam contributes up to 10%.

    There will be three practical exams held in weeks 8, 10 and 13. These will test your ability to apply some of the lecture, workshop and assignment material. Each exam contributes up to 10%.

    All programming assignments require you to write programs that will be assessed by considering three aspects of your submissions. Automatic assessement by the Web Submission System, a review of the submitted programs, and a manual review of the associated logbook. The logbook is a vital part of your assessment - a lack of a log-book with a narrative of your development process may result in a very low mark for the assignment. Details of how the three aspects are combined and a marking rubric is provided on the course website. These are linked to by each programming assignment description.

    Each assignment has two submission points, a milestone submission and a final submission. The milestone submissions are an opportunity to receive marks for work completed early. Milestone submissions are only subject to automatic marking by the Web Submission System but the work will be fully assessed as part of the final submission.

    Assignment details:

    Assignment Milestone Due Final Due Description Weighting
    Assignment 1 Tuesday Week 7 Friday Week 7 Programming 5%
    Assignment 2 Tuesday Week 9 Friday Week 9 Programming 10%
    Assignment 3 Friday Week 11 Friday Week 12 Programming 25%

    Bonus Marks

    The maximum bonus mark you can receive is calculated using your final mark for the assignments, in-worshop examinations and the final written examination. The maximum bonus is 10 if your score is less then 20%. If your score is greater than 20% the maximum bonus is progressively scaled down, in proproportion to the square of your score, from 10 to 0 as your score increases from 20% to 100%. It is calculated as follows:

    1. Your final mark is scaled down, AM = max(0,mark * 1.25 - 25), this scales 60 to down to 50, smaller marks get a bigger bonus.
    2. The maximum bonus for marks less than 60 is 5 * (2 - (AM / 50)2)
    3. The maximum bonus for marks greater than 60 is 5 * ((100 - AM) / 50)2

    This is a graphical representation of how the maximum bonus mark varies with your score:

    You may receive up to 5 participation marks for each workshop that you prepare for, attend and actively participate in. Preparation and participation will be assessed via the Web Submission System and attendance will be recorded using the Practical Marker. The due dates are available on the course website.

    You may receive up to 5 participation marks for each lecture review quiz that you attempt. The quiz mark will be used as the participation mark. There will be a significant number of lecture review quizzes available on the course website. The quizzes will show you the correct answers when you submit and they will allow multiple attempts in the short time they are available. The due dates are available on the course website.

    You may receive up to 5 participation marks for each Nand2tetris project that you submit via the Web Submission System. The due dates are available on the course website.

    You may receive up to 10 participation marks for early submission of a programming assignment. The final submission test marks awarded by the Web Submission System will be used as the participation mark and scaled to a score between 0 and 10. For all programming assignments, the best mark for any submission at least one week prior to the final deadline will be used to generate participation marks. For assignment 3, the best mark for any submission at least two weeks prior to the final deadline will be used to generate additional participation marks.

    For each three week period, weeks 1 to 3, weeks 4 to 6, weeks 7 to 9 and weeks 10 to 12, all available participation marks will be added together and capped at 25. The sum of these four participation marks will be used as a participation percentage. This is applied to your maximum bonus mark and the result is added to your final mark for the course. The following table shows some example calculations:

    Course Mark Max Bonus  Participation (%)  Actual Bonus Final Course Mark
    0 10 100 10 10%
    20 10 50 5 25%
    40 8.75 65 5.7 46%
    60 5 0 0 60%
    80 1.25 100 1.25 81%
    100 0 45 0 100%
    Late Penalties

    All programming assignments must be submitted using the School of Computer Science online Submission System. Details are included in each assignment description on the course website.

    If you hand in your work late, the marks for the late submission may be capped, based on how many days late it is, as follows:

    • up to 1 day late — mark is reduced to 75%, marks below 75% are not affected.
    • up to 2 days late — mark is reduced to 50%, marks below 50% are not affected.
    • up to 3 days late — mark is reduced to 25%, marks below 25% are not affected.
    • More than 3 days late — mark is reduced to 0.
    • You get the best mark for any of your submissions so you can safely make late submissions without risking marks awarded to an earlier submission.
    • We use the time at which a particular revision is submitted to the Web Submission System to determine late penalties not when the revision was committed to your svn repository.
    • We expect to be able to return the final marks of each assignment within three weeks of the deadline.
    • Requests for extensions under a Disability Action Plan must be received before close of business (5pm) on the day an assignment is due or they will be refused.
    Participation Marks

    The bonus marks are intended to reflect timely engagement with the course material and as such the related activities must occur within the published time frames, exceptions are not permitted for any reason. There are more participation marks available than can be used so a small number of absences will not affect the final bonus mark.

    Quiz Exams and Practical Exams

    Failure to participate in an exam will be dealt with on a case by case basis subject to appropriate documentation being provided.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Myuni Grade Book
    The participation marks will be collated and published in the myuni grade book at the end of each 3 week period. A grade book comment should describe how the component marks were used to calculate the participation mark.

    The assignment marks will be collated and published in the myuni grade book when the final submissions have been marked. Note, these may appear to be different from those in the web submission system because of the individual weightings applied to the milestone and final submission marks. A grade book comment should describe how the components were used to calculate the final assignment mark.

    All exam script marks will also be published in the myuni grade book. In the case of the primary exam this will be after the course results have been finalised at the end of semester examiners' meeting. All other exam script marks will be published as soon as they are available.

    The final mark for the course will only be available through Access Adelaide.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.