FIT1001 Computer systems - Semester 1 , 2007 unit guide

Semester 1, 2007

Chief Examiner

Prof Ingrid Zukerman


Berwick : Dr. Nandita Bhattacharjee
Caulfield : Prof Ingrid Zukerman
Clayton : Prof Ingrid Zukerman
Gippsland : Ass. Prof. Kai Ming Ting
Malaysia : Ms Elsa Phung
Peninsula : NA
South Africa : Mr Ernest Mnkandla


FIT1001 Computer Systems will introduce students to basic computer hardware and operating systems software with emphasis on the concepts required to understand the low-level and internal operations of computer systems.

In particular, this includes study of data representation, simple digital logic, computer organisation including CPU, memory and input/output devices, as well as machine-level and assembly language programming, and operating system concepts with examples of process management, file system structures and user interfaces. The intention is to provide opportunities for students to relate the hardware knowledge covered in this unit to the concepts learned in their introductory programming and systems analysis classes and to give a more complete understanding of how hardware and software are used to build systems.

This provides opportunities for students to relate the use of programming languages and studies of system design and project management to their implementation on computer hardware.

ASCED Discipline Group Classification: 031305 Computer Engineering.



On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • understand basic Computer Structure and Operation and demonstrate use of the associated vocabulary.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of Data Representation, Computer Arithmetic and Boolean Algebra using appropriate methods of implementation.
  • demonstrate detailed knowledge of Internal Bus, Memory, I/O organisations and interfacing standards.
  • describe the internal operation of the CPU and explain how it is used to execute instructions.
  • differentiate between machine language and assembly language and write assembly language programs to solve simple problems.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the basics of operating systems, file
    systems, and system software;
  • identify factors that affect computer performance.
  • use various simulators to demonstrate the operation of simple computer architectures.



There are no prerequisites for this unit.

Unit relationships

FIT1001 is a core unit of the Bachelor of Information Technology, Bachelor of Computer Science, Bachelor of Business Systems and Bachelor of Software Engineering. It is a prerequisite for many subsequent units in the remainder of these degrees. There are no prerequisites for this unit.

Texts and software

Required text(s)

Null L., Lobur J., Essentials of Computer Organization and Architecture, second edition, Jones and Bartlett (2006) ISBN 0-7637-3769-0.

Textbook availability

Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

Software requirements

MultiMedia Logic, ver1.4, SoftTronix, 2004
SPIM v7.3, (2006), MIPS32 simulator
Process Viewer, v5.2, 2006
Runtime's Disk Explorer for FAT (trial version)
Memory32P,v0.9,Monash University, 1999

All the above are included as part of the Standard Operating Environment used in Faculty computer Labs and may also be downloaded from the Unit web site.

Software may be:

  • downloaded from FIT1001 MUSO website

Hardware requirements

Students may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate time per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

Recommended reading

A. S. Tanenbaum, Structured Computer Organization, 5th Edition, Pearson Prentice-Hall, 2006, ISBN 0-13-148521-0
W. Stallings, Computer Organization and Architecture, 7th Edition, Pearson Prentice-Hall, 2006, ISBN 0-13-185644-8
S. D. Burd, Systems Architecture, 5th edition, Thomson Course Technology, 2006, ISBN 0-619-21692-1
W. Stallings, Operating Systems Internals and Design Principles, 5th edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005, ISBN 0-13-127837-1
A. Silberschatz, P. B. Galvin and G. Gagne, Operating System Concepts, Wiley, 7th edition, 2005, ISBN 0-471-69466-5
M. Palmer, M. Walters, T. Badgett and N. Jonker, Guide to Operating Systems, 3rd edition, Thomson Course Technology, 2004, ISBN 0-619-21347-7
A. S. Tanenbaum, Modern Operating Systems, 2nd edition, Prentice Hall, 2001, ISBN 0-13-092641-8
W. S. Davis and T. M. Rajkumar, Operating Systems - A Systematic Approach, 6th edition, Pearson Addison Wesley, 2004, ISBN 0-321-26751-6
I. M. Flynn and A. M. McHoes, Understanding Operating Systems, 4th edition, Thomson Course Technology, 2006, ISBN 0-534-42366-3
J. L. Ford, Windows Shell Scripting and WSH, Premier Press, 2002, ISBN 1-931841-26-8
M. G. Sobell: A Practical Guide to Linux, Prentice Hall, 2005, ISBN 0-13-147823-0
I. Englander: The Architecture of Computer Hardware and Systems Software, 3rd Edition, Wiley, 2003, 0-471-07325-3

Library access

You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

Study resources

Study resources for FIT1001 are:

11 Study Guides will be made available to the students via the FIT1001 MUSO website.

A printed Reader containing short extracts from a number of text books and required to support parts of the study guides will be made available to all students.

The FIT1001 web site on MUSO, where lecture slides, tutorial exercises, practical assignment specifications, sample solutions, software and supplementary material will be available.

Newsgroups and eMail discussion lists available via the FIT1001 unit web site.

Unit website

Structure and organisation

Week Topics Study Guide Key Dates
1 Introduction Study Guide 1
2 Data Representation & Arithmetic Study Guide 2
3 Boolean algebra & digital logic Study Guide 3
4 Boolean algebra & digital logic (cont) Study Guide 3
5 Computer architecture: basic and MIPS Study Guide 4 Lab01
6 MIPS assembly language and instruction execution Study Guide 5 Mid smester test (4-4-2007)
Non teaching week
7 Instruction Set Architecture Study Guide 6 Lab02/ Assignment 1
8 Program Execution Concepts Study Guide 7
9 Operating Systems and system software Study Guide 8 Lab03
10 File Systems Study Guide 9 Lab04/ Assignment 2
11 Memory components and organisation Study Guide 10 Lab05
12 I/O organisation and standards Study Guide 11 Lab06 /Assignment 3
13 Revision All


The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


Assessment weighting

Assessment for on campus students consists of

  • 6 practicals with a weighting of 30%,
  • a class test with a weighting of 10% and
  • an examination with a weighting of 60%.

Assessment for OCL students consists of

  • assignments with a weighting of 40%, and
  • an examination with a weighting of 60%.

Read this section VERY carefully.

Assessment Policy

To pass this unit you must:

  • Attend all practical classes (except where special consideration is granted eg. on medical gounds)
  • Achieve a minimum of 50% overall with the following minimum hurdles :
    • practicals 13/30 for on campus students, or assignments 17/40 for OCL students
    • exam 27/60
  • Failure to meet a hurdle will result in a maximum mark of 44N


Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

On campus students:

Final grade = 0.1T + 0.3P +0.6E, if the minimum hurdle for practicals and exam are met, else Maximum Final grade = 44N

OCL students:

Final grade = 0.4P +0.6E, if the minimum hurdle for practicals and exam are met, else
Maximum Final grade = 44N

T = midsemester test percentage
E = examination percentage
P = Practical assesments/assignments percentage

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Due Date Weighting
Lab01 Week 5 5%
Mid semester test Week 6 (4-4-2007) 10 %
Lab02 Week 7 5 %
Lab03 Week 9 5 %
Lab04 Week 10 5 %
Lab05 Week 11 5 %
Lab06 Week 12 5 %
Assignment 1(OCL) Week 7 15 %
Assignment 2(OCL) Week10 15 %
Assignment 3(OCL) Week 12 10 %
Examination 3 hours, closed book Exam period (S1/07) starts on 07/06/07 60 %

Assignment specifications will be made available on the FIT1001 web site.

Assignment Submission

On-campus students demonstrate the laboratory assignment in the practical class sessions to the tutor on the nominated due date.

OCL students will submit the assignments electronically.

Extensions and late submissions

Late submission of assignments

On campus students :

If you miss a prac, you will be marked ABSENT, unless...
You attend another prac the same week (with the approval of the Tutor)
Timetables of other pracs in MUSO
You email
REGULAR PRAC: (time and room)
REPLACEMENT PRAC: (time and room)
If you had an illness or emergency, then
If you
Obtain Medical Certificate or Police Accident Report
Fill out Absentee Form
Submit the form and documentation to the General FIT Office
Your mark will be changed from ABSENT to SICK
At the end of the semester:
SICK marks are changed to the average of your marks in the pracs you attended, provided you attended pracs worth at least 20 marks
Any missed pracs in excess of 10 marks will receive a mark of 0

OCL students:

Assignments submitted after the due date will be accepted only in
exceptional circumstances. If an assignment will be late, it is necessary to
contact the lecturer at least 2 days before the due date and submit a written
application for extension. You should provide documentation to support a
request for late submission (Eg. Doctor’s Certificate).

Penalties are incurred from the due date at the rate of 20% reduction in
grade for each day the assignment is late.

This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

OCL students:

Requests for extensions must apply to the Gippsland unit advisor, at least two days before the due date. Please note that your tutor cannot approve a request for extension. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary. Please use emails for extension requests.

Grading of assessment

Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

Grade Percentage/description
HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
In the 70-79% range.
C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
In the 60-69% range.
P Pass acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
In the 50-59% range.
N Not satisfactory failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
Below 50%.

Assignment return

OCL students:

We aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment cut-off date.


Feedback to you

You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

Feedback from you

You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

And if you are having problems

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

Unit improvements

Based on the student feedback the course content and the unit evaluations has been updated.

Plagiarism and cheating

Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


Communication methods

Preferred methods of communication for students is to initially attempt to discuss topics and raise questions with tutors before contacting the lecturer, but students may also use the discussion groups and mailing lists given on the unit web site. Students can also send email to the lecturer or ask questions during or at the end of lectures.


All students in this unit will have access to message areas known as newsgroups for unit discussion and information on the unit web site. You may post any questions you have to the appropriate newsgroup. You may also use these message areas to interact with staff and students. There will be at least three newsgroups, which are:

  • Notices
  • General
  • Assignments

All important announcements about the unit will be made in the first newsgroup. You can access these newsgroups at the FIT1001 unit web site at You should visit these message areas at least weekly, to get the latest information about your studies.

Consultation Times

In addition to the scheduled class times, lecturers and tutors set aside other times for general consultations. Consultation times for Lecturer and Tutors are posted on the staff members own web sites and on personal staff timetables posted on staff office doors. Consultations occur in the staff member's office or the tutor helpdesk area. At other times, for direct communication with your unit lecturer or tutor, see the contact details provided in the unit introduction document for each campus.

If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

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All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

Last updated: Mar 7, 2007