COMP SCI 7081NA - Computer Systems

Ngee Ann Academy - Trimester 2 - 2016

Information storage representation, Memory organisation and hierarchy, Processor fundamentals, assembler programming, assembler operation, subroutine calling mechanisms, linking/loading, Input-output and device controllers, requirements for supporting an operating system and device drivers.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code COMP SCI 7081NA
    Course Computer Systems
    Coordinating Unit Computer Science
    Term Trimester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s Ngee Ann Academy
    Units 3
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    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

    Upon completion of this course you 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
    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 course website can be found here:


    We will use this to announce all changes to the course, assignments, and workshops. You are therefore strongly advised to read all mail that comes from this source — do not ignore it!

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be taught using a combination of lectures and workshops. There will also be four practical programming exercises. You are expected to read the book before and after each lecture, and to actively participate in class activities.

    To get the most out of the workshop sessions you should attempt the questions before the session --- there is often not time to do all questions in these sessions.

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

    Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes. In addition to the schedule contact hours, students are expected to spend 3-6 hours before/after each weekend intensive reading annd reviewing the lecture material. Besides, they will need 3-5 hours per week working on their assignment work.

    Make sure you work steadily on the course between intensives and maintain contact with the lecturers and the forums.
    Learning Activities Summary
    There is an approximate schedule of the topics that will be covered on the course website (see to locate the online content of the course).

    The exact timing will depend on the times of public holidays and quizzes.
  • 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
    The assessment will comprise four parts:
    • Exam (50%) (CBOK areas* abstraction, design, hardware and software, data and information, and programming)
    • Four Assignments (30%) (CBOK areas* abstraction, design, hardware and software, data and information, and programming)
    • Ten Quizzes (10%) (CBOK areas* design, hardware and software)
    • Up to 12 Workshops - attendence and participation (10%) (CBOK areas* abstraction, design, hardware and software, data and information, and programming)
    *For the CBOK See:
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Hurdle Requirement: If your overall mark for the course is greater than 44 F but, your mark for the final written exam is less than 40%, your overall mark for the course will be reduced to 44 F.
    Assessment Detail
    The written exam will test your understanding of the assignment, workshop and lecture material.

    All practical assignments require you to write programs, which will be partly marked by the Web Submission System.

    You are strongly encouraged to begin the exercises early, to allow time for seeking help when needed. In all practical assignments you will be required to use a logbook that you maintain during your development of your solution to the assignment. This logbook is a vital part of your assessment - a lack of a log-book with a narrative of your development process will result in a mark of zero for the assignment. A link to the logbook is available in the Web Submission System on the "View Feedback" tab of each practical assignment.

    Assignment details:

    Assignment 1 - Due before second intensive - Hardware Simulation 7.5%
    Assignment 2 - Due before third intensive - Hardware Simulation 7.5%
    Assignment 3 - Due before fourth intensive - Programming 7.5%
    Assignment 4 - Due after fourth intensive - Programming 7.5%

    You will receive an attendance mark for each workshop that you attend and actively participate in. The workshop attendance marks are equally weighted so that if you attend and actively participate in all of them the marks will add up to 10%.

    There will be 10 online quizzes available on the course website. The dates there are available will be shown on the course website.
    All practical 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, your mark may be capped, based on how many days late it is, as follows:
    up to 1 day late — mark capped at 75%
    up to 2 days late — mark capped at 50%
    up to 3 days late — mark capped at 25%
    More than 3 days late — no marks available.

    We expect to be able to return the final marks of each assignment within three weeks of the deadline.

    Due to the nature of the on-line quizzes, no late submissions are permitted.
    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.

  • 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.