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FIT1001 Computer systems - Semester 1, 2011

This unit 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 system software and operating system concepts. 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.

Contact Hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs tutorials/wk


Students will be expected to spend a total of 12 hours per week during semester on this unit.

This will include:
Lectures: 2 hours per week
Tutorials: 2 hours per week per tutorial

and up to an additional 8 hours in each week for completing private study and revision.

Unit Relationships


CSE1201, CPE1002, GCO2812

Chief Examiner

Dengzheng Zhang

Campus Lecturer


Dengsheng Zhang



Dengsheng Zhang

Learning Objectives

At the 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 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;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the basics of operating systems and system software; and
  • identify factors that affect computer performance.

Graduate Attributes

Monash prepares its graduates to be:
  1. responsible and effective global citizens who:
    1. engage in an internationalised world
    2. exhibit cross-cultural competence
    3. demonstrate ethical values
  2. critical and creative scholars who:
    1. produce innovative solutions to problems
    2. apply research skills to a range of challenges
    3. communicate perceptively and effectively

    Assessment Summary

    Examination (3 hours): 70%; In-semester assessment: 30%

    Assessment Task Value Due Date
    Assignment 1 15% Weeks 6
    Assignment 2 15% Week 12
    Examination 1 70% To be advised

    Teaching Approach

    This teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning.


    Our feedback to You

    Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:
    • Graded assignments with comments
    • Solutions to tutes, labs and assignments

    Your feedback to Us

    Monash is committed to excellence in education and regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through SETU, Student Evaluation of Teacher and Unit. The University's student evaluation policy requires that every unit is evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys. The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

    For more information on Monash's educational strategy, and on student evaluations, see:

    Previous Student Evaluations of this unit

    If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to

    Required Resources

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

    Unit Schedule

    Week Date* Activities Assessment
    0 21/02/11   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
    1 28/02/11 Introduction and Basic concepts of computing  
    2 07/03/11 Data Representation & Arithmetic  
    3 14/03/11 Data Representation & Arithmetic  
    4 21/03/11 Boolean algebra & Digital Logic  
    5 28/03/11 Boolean algebra & Digital Logic  
    6 04/04/11 Computer Architecture Assignment 1
    7 11/04/11 Computer Architecture  
    8 18/04/11 Instruction set Architecture  
    Mid semester break
    9 02/05/11 Instruction set Architecture  
    10 09/05/11 Memory components  
    11 16/05/11 System software  
    12 23/05/11 Operating systems Assignment 2
      30/05/11 SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken SWOT VAC

    *Please note that these dates may only apply to Australian campuses of Monash University. Off-shore students need to check the dates with their unit leader.

    Assessment Policy

    To pass a unit which includes an examination as part of the assessment a student must obtain:

    • 40% or more in the unit's examination, and
    • 40% or more in the unit's total non-examination assessment, and
    • an overall unit mark of 50% or more.

    If a student does not achieve 40% or more in the unit examination or the unit non-examination total assessment, and the total mark for the unit is greater than 50% then a mark of no greater than 49-N will be recorded for the unit

    Assessment Tasks


    • Assessment task 1
      Assignment 1
      Assessment of Lecture topic 1-3
      Criteria for assessment:
      1. Assignment 1 consists of a number of short numerical and logical calculation questions.
      2. Total marks are 100
      3. Students must obtain 50 marks out of 100
      Due date:
      Weeks 6
    • Assessment task 2
      Assignment 2
      Assessment of Lecture topic 4-7
      Criteria for assessment:
      1. Assignment 1 consists of a number of short answer questions.
      2. Total marks are 100
      3. Students must obtain 50 marks out of 100
      Due date:
      Week 12


    • Examination 1
      3 hours
      Type (open/closed book):
      Closed book
      Electronic devices allowed in the exam:
      exam hurdle 40% of exam mark

    Assignment submission

    Assignment coversheets are available via "Student Forms" on the Faculty website:
    You MUST submit a completed coversheet with all assignments, ensuring that the plagiarism declaration section is signed.

    Extensions and penalties

    Returning assignments


    Monash has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University's academic standards, and to provide advice on how they might uphold them. You can find Monash's Education Policies at:

    Key educational policies include:

    Student services

    The University provides many different kinds of support services for you. Contact your tutor if you need advice and see the range of services available at The Monash University Library provides a range of services and resources that enable you to save time and be more effective in your learning and research. Go to or the library tab in portal for more information. Students who have a disability or medical condition are welcome to contact the Disability Liaison Unit to discuss academic support services. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) visit all Victorian campuses on a regular basis


    A. S. Tanenbaum, Structured Computer Organization, 5th Edition, Pearson Prentice-Hall, 2006, ISBN 0-13-148521-0
    S. G. Shiva,Computer Organization, Design and Architecture,4th Edition, CRC Press, 2008, ISBN 13-978-0-8493-0416-3
    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
    W. Stallings, Operating Systems Internals and Design Principles, 5th edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005, ISBN 0-13-127837-1
    A. S. Tanenbaum, Modern Operating Systems, 2nd edition, Prentice Hall, 2001, ISBN 0-13-092641-8

    Last updated: 16 Jun 2010