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FIT1001 Computer systems - Semester 1 , 2008

Unit leader :

Professor Ingrid Zukerman

Lecturer(s) :


  • John Hurst


  • Nandita Bhattacharjee


  • Ingrid Zukerman


  • Dengsheng Zhang

South Africa

  • Mohan Das


  • Elsa Phung

Tutors(s) :


  • Chris Groszek


  • Kai Ming Ting


Welcome to FIT1001, Computer Systems for semester 1, 2008. This 6 point unit is core to all undergraduate degree programs in the Faculty of IT. This unit has been designed to provide you with an appreciation of the internal architecture and  operations of a computer system and its operating system software. Students will be expected to use the theoretical knowledge and concepts presented in lectures  to practical applications and understand  critical factors that affect computer performance.

Unit synopsis

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 including process management. 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.

Learning outcomes

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 and Memory.
  • 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 and system software.
  • identify factors that affect computer performance.
  • use simulators to demonstrate the operation of simple computer architectures.


For on campus students, workload commitments are:

  • 1 three hour lecture per week
  • 7 two-hour labs (requiring advance preparation), starting in week 4.
  • 11 one-hour tutorials, starting in week 3.
  • a minimum of 1.5 hours of personal study per 1 hour of contact time in order to satisfy the reading and assignment expectations.This gives a total of at least 7.5 hours of study per week.

Unit relationships


There are no prerequisites for this unit.


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.

Continuous improvement

Monash is committed to ‘Excellence in education' and strives for the highest possible quality in teaching and learning. To monitor how successful we are in providing quality teaching and learning Monash regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. Two of the formal ways that you are invited to provide feedback are through Unit Evaluations and through Monquest Teaching Evaluations.

One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through Unit Evaluation Surveys. It is Monash policy for every unit offered to be evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys as they are an important avenue for students to "have their say". The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

Student Evaluations

The Faculty of IT administers the Unit Evaluation surveys online through the my.monash portal, although for some smaller classes there may be alternative evaluations conducted in class.

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to http://www.monash.edu.au/unit-evaluation-reports/

Over the past few years the Faculty of Information Technology has made a number of improvements to its courses as a result of unit evaluation feedback. Some of these include systematic analysis and planning of unit improvements, and consistent assignment return guidelines.

Monquest Teaching Evaluation surveys may be used by some of your academic staff this semester. They are administered by the Centre for Higher Education Quality (CHEQ) and may be completed in class with a facilitator or on-line through the my.monash portal. The data provided to lecturers is completely anonymous. Monquest surveys provide academic staff with evidence of the effectiveness of their teaching and identify areas for improvement. Individual Monquest reports are confidential, however, you can see the summary results of Monquest evaluations for 2006 at http://www.adm.monash.edu.au/cheq/evaluations/monquest/profiles/index.html

Unit staff - contact details

Unit leader

Professor Ingrid Zukerman
Phone +61 3 990 55202
Fax +61 3 990 55157

Lecturer(s) :

Ms Elsa Phung
Professor Ingrid Zukerman
Phone +61 3 990 55202
Fax +61 3 990 55157

Contact hours : Monday 2-3 pm

Mohan Das
Dr Dengsheng Zhang
Senior Lecturer
Phone +61 3 990 26772
Fax +61 3 9902 6879
Associate Professor John Hurst
Associate Professor
Phone +61 3 990 34102 +61 3 990 55192
Fax +61 3 990 55146
Dr Nandita Bhattacharjee
Phone +61 3 990 53293
Fax +61 3 990 55146

Tutor(s) :

Chris Groszek
Associate Professor Kai Ming Ting
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Phone +61 3 990 26241

Teaching and learning method

Communication, participation and feedback

Monash aims to provide a learning environment in which students receive a range of ongoing feedback throughout their studies. You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This may take the form of group feedback, individual feedback, peer feedback, self-comparison, verbal and written feedback, discussions (on line and in class) as well as more formal feedback related to assignment marks and grades. You are encouraged to draw on a variety of feedback to enhance your learning.

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem that is affecting your study. Semesters are 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 Schedule

Week Topic Study guide Key dates
1 Introduction LN 1  
2 Data Representation & Arithmetic LN 2  
3 Boolean algebra & digital logic LN 3  
4 Boolean algebra & digital logic (cont) LN 3  
Mid semester break
5 Computer architecture: basic and MIPS LN 4 Lab01
6 MIPS assembly language and instruction execution LN 5 Lab01 (cont), Mid semester test (9-4-08)
7 MIPS assembly language and instruction execution (cont) LN 5 Lab02 (Friday)
8 Instruction set Architecture LN 6 Lab02 (Tuesday-Thursday))
9 Program execution concepts LN 7 Lab03
10 Memory components LN 8 Lab03 (cont)
11 Operating system LN 9 Lab04
12 System software LN 10 Lab04 (cont)
13 Revision All  

Unit Resources

Prescribed text(s) and readings

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

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.

Recommended text(s) and readings

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
S. Dandamudi,  Fundamentals of Computer Organization and Design,  Springer, ISBN 0-387-95211-X
I. Englander: The Architecture of Computer Hardware and Systems Software, 3rd Edition, Wiley, 2003, 0-471-07325-3
R.L. Britton,  MIPS Assembly Language Programming,  Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-142044-5
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
A. S. Tanenbaum, Modern Operating Systems, 2nd edition, Prentice Hall, 2001, ISBN 0-13-092641-8
I. M. Flynn and A. M. McHoes, Understanding Operating Systems, 4th edition, Thomson Course Technology, 2006, ISBN 0-534-42366-3

Required software and/or hardware

MultiMedia Logic, ver1.4, SoftTronix, 2004
SPIM v7.3, (2006), MIPS32 simulator
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
For Off-Campus Students, some of the software is included on the GSIT Software CD-ROM which should have been mailed to you by OCLC.

Equipment and consumables required or provided

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.

Study resources

Study resources we will provide for your study are:

10 Lecture Notes  will be made available to the students via the FIT1001 MUSO website.

The SPIM manual and short extracts from a number of text books will be made available to all students via the FIT1001 MUSO website.

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.

Library access

The Monash University Library site contains details about borrowing rights and catalogue searching. To learn more about the library and the various resources available, please go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

Monash University Studies Online (MUSO)

All unit and lecture materials are available through MUSO (Monash University Studies Online). Blackboard is the primary application used to deliver your unit resources. Some units will be piloted in Moodle.

You can access MUSO and Blackboard via the portal (http://my.monash.edu.au).

Click on the Study and enrolment tab, then Blackboard under the MUSO learning systems.

In order for your Blackboard unit(s) to function correctly, your computer needs to be correctly configured.

For example :

  • Blackboard supported browser
  • Supported Java runtime environment

For more information, please visit


You can contact the MUSO Support by: Phone: (+61 3) 9903 1268

For further contact information including operational hours, please visit


Further information can be obtained from the MUSO support site:


If your unit is piloted in Moodle, you will see a link from your Blackboard unit to Moodle at http://moodle.med.monash.edu.au.
From the Faculty of Information Technology category, click on the link for your unit.


Unit assessment policy

The unit is assessed with 4 practical assignments, a one hour mid-semester test and a three hour closed book examination. To pass the unit:

  • Your marks must average to at least 50
  • You must pass each individual hurdle
    • Practical class assessment hurdle of 40% of total practical marks
    • Exam hurdle of 40% of exam marks
  • Failure to meet the hurdles  will result in a maximum of 44N.

Assignment tasks

  • Assignment Task

    Title : Lab01

    Description :

    This assignment will familiarise the students to a Digital logic Simulator and use it to design, build and test simple digital circuits to solve simple problems and demonstrate its operation as per specifications.

    Weighting : 5%

    Criteria for assessment :

    1. All logic diagrams and truth tables must be as per specification.
    2. The operation of each circuit should meet the requirements as per the truth table. 

    Due date : Week 5

  • Assignment Task

    Title : Lab02

    Description :

    Achieving familiarity with MIPS and with the simulator SPIM. Learning system calls
    and the various operations.

    Weighting : 5%

    Criteria for assessment :

    1. All programs must compile and run correctly. Evidence of testing is required.
    2. Programs must meet the problem specification.
    3. MIPS code should be readable and maintainable.

    Due date : Week 8

  • Assignment Task

    Title : Lab03

    Description :

    Learn how MIPS represents global variables in memory, and how to use comparison and control transfer instructions.

    Weighting : 10%

    Criteria for assessment :

    Refer to criteria used for Lab02.

    Due date : Week 10

  • Assignment Task

    Title : Lab04

    Description :

    Learn how MIPS implements ISA concepts, how MIPS represents a global array in memory, how different types of control  transfer instructions are implemented, and how procedure calls (without parameters) are executed.

    Weighting : 10%

    Criteria for assessment :

    Refer to criteria used for Lab02.

    Due date : Week 12

    Remarks ( optional - leave blank for none ) :

    A hurdle requirement of 40%  of all the practical assignment marks (including lab01, lab02, lab03 & lab04) is necessary to pass this unit.

  • Assignment Task

    Title : Mid semester test

    Description :

    Mid-semester closed book test to be held in class for a duration of 1 hour.

    Weighting : 10%

    Criteria for assessment :

    Accuracy of design and problem solutions as per specifications.

    Due date : Week 6

    Remarks ( optional - leave blank for none ) :

    Overall non-examinations assessment hurdle requirement of 40% is necessary to pass this unit.


  • Examination

    Weighting : 60%

    Length : 3 hours

    Type ( open/closed book ) : closed book

    Remarks ( optional - leave blank for none ) :

    exam hurdle 40% of exam mark

Assignment submission

Students demonstrate to the tutor the operation and implementations of their design solutions to the laboratory assignments in the practical class sessions on/before the nominated due date.

OCL students must submit their assignments electronically to the Webface:


University and Faculty policy on assessment

Due dates and extensions

The due dates for the submission of assignments are given in the previous section. Please make every effort to submit work by the due dates. 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. Students are advised to NOT assume that granting of an extension is a matter of course.

Late assignment

If you miss a prac, you will be marked ABSENT, unless...

  1. You attend another prac the same week (with the approval of the Tutor)
  • Timetables of other pracs in MUSO
  • You email cl-fit1001-admin@infotech.monash.edu.au (Clayton students), or ca-fit1001-admin@infotech.monash.edu.au (Caulfield students), or  gi-fit1001-admin@infotech.monash.edu.au (Gippsland students), or my-fit1001-admin@infotech.monash.edu.au (Malaysia students), or sa-fit1001-admin@infotech.monash.edu.au (South Africa students)
    • NAME:
    • ID NUMBER:
    • 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 then
    • 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

Return dates

Students can expect assignments to be returned within two weeks of the submission date or after receipt, whichever is later.

Assessment for the unit as a whole is in accordance with the provisions of the Monash University Education Policy at http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/assessment/

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

Plagiarism, cheating and collusion

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 (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/about/committees-groups/facboard/policies/studrights.html) 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.

Register of counselling about plagiarism

The university requires faculties to keep a simple and confidential register to record counselling to students about plagiarism (e.g. warnings). The register is accessible to Associate Deans Teaching (or nominees) and, where requested, students concerned have access to their own details in the register. The register is to serve as a record of counselling about the nature of plagiarism, not as a record of allegations; and no provision of appeals in relation to the register is necessary or applicable.

Non-discriminatory language

The Faculty of Information Technology is committed to the use of non-discriminatory language in all forms of communication. Discriminatory language is that which refers in abusive terms to gender, race, age, sexual orientation, citizenship or nationality, ethnic or language background, physical or mental ability, or political or religious views, or which stereotypes groups in an adverse manner. This is not meant to preclude or inhibit legitimate academic debate on any issue; however, the language used in such debate should be non-discriminatory and sensitive to these matters. It is important to avoid the use of discriminatory language in your communications and written work. The most common form of discriminatory language in academic work tends to be in the area of gender inclusiveness. You are, therefore, requested to check for this and to ensure your work and communications are non-discriminatory in all respects.

Students with disabilities

Students with disabilities that may disadvantage them in assessment should seek advice from one of the following before completing assessment tasks and examinations:

Deferred assessment and special consideration

Deferred assessment (not to be confused with an extension for submission of an assignment) may be granted in cases of extenuating personal circumstances such as serious personal illness or bereavement. Information and forms for Special Consideration and deferred assessment applications are available at http://www.monash.edu.au/exams/special-consideration.html. Contact the Faculty's Student Services staff at your campus for further information and advice.