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ELEC9601: Computer Systems (2020 - Semester 2)

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Unit: ELEC9601: Computer Systems (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Postgraduate
Faculty/School: School of Electrical & Information Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr Boland, David
Session options: Semester 2
Versions for this Unit:
Site(s) for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: None.
Prohibitions: ELEC5711.
Brief Handbook Description: This unit of study introduces the fundamental digital concepts upon which the design and operation of modern digital computers are based. A prime aim of the unit is to develop a professional view of, and a capacity for inquiry into, the field of computing.

Topics covered include: data representation, basic computer organisation, the CPU, elementary gates and logic, machine language, assembly language and high level programming constructs.
Assumed Knowledge: HSC Mathematics extension 1 or 2
Timetable: ELEC9601 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Lecture 2.00 2 13
2 Laboratory 3.00 1 12
3 Tutorial 2.00 1 12
4 Independent Study 3.00
T&L Activities: Lecture: Requires previous preparation activites and active participation

Tutorial: Solve exercises extending the activities in the lecture. Requires preparation activities and active participation.

Laboratory: Hands on lab work on computer systems and design build and test a team project with a robot.

Independent Study: Preparation for lectures, tutorial and labs.

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

Unassigned Outcomes
1. Ability to apply concept, principles and techniques to configure a basic system.
2. Ability to scope, build and test an engineering artefact.
3. Proficiency in applying computer engineering knowledge in the design, construction and testing of commensurate solutions for specific engineering problems.
4. Ability to demonstrate understanding of the concepts and principles of computer architecture, digital logic design and microprocessor assembly language.
5. Ability to demonstrate understanding of the concepts, principles and relationship for computers, the internet and clients and servers.
6. Ability to demonstrate fundamental knowledge of computer engineering issues.
7. Ability to write reports to present design specific information and results concisely and accurately.
8. An appreciation of the professional practice, standards and responsibilities in working with hardware and software to the limit afforded by lab sessions and exercises.
9. Ability to engage in team-based design, drawing on the knowledge, skills and creative talent of all members to deliver a solution to a particular engineering problem.
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Preparation Activities for the Lecture No 10.00 Multiple Weeks 3, 4, 5, 6,
2 Tutorial Presentation Questions No 5.00 Multiple Weeks 4,
3 Tutorial active participation No 5.00 Multiple Weeks 4, 5,
4 Midterm Exam No 20.00 Week 6 4, 5,
5 Laboratory Report No 5.00 Multiple Weeks 1, 4, 6, 8,
6 Project report Yes 8.00 Week 13 6, 7,
7 Project Demonstration Yes 4.00 Week 13 5, 9,
8 Project Presentation Yes 3.00 Week 13 5, 9,
9 Final Exam No 40.00 Exam Period 4, 5, 6,
Assessment Description: Lecture preparation: Sequence of exercises to be answered online.

Tutorial: Sequence of exercises to be answered online + active participation in the session.

Laboratory report: Solve a problem requiring the use of hardware and embedded systems and then write a professional report describing the session (1 report during Weeks 2 - 6)

Midterm exam: Multiple choice question exam

Project report: Report describing how the project was implemented.

Project demonstration: Demonstrate the result of the project to the rest of the class.

Project presentation: Oral presentation on how the project was executed.

Final Exam: End of semester exam
Assessment Feedback: Assessment feedback will be provided face to face in the labs and tutorials, via BlackBoard for assignments submitted online, and through a dashboard embedded in the course notes.
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Policies & Procedures: See the policies page of the faculty website at for information regarding university policies and local provisions and procedures within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.
Online Course Content: Notes and discussions will be provided on BlackBoard and through (only for students enrolled in an Australian University)
Note on Resources: ELEC1601 Course Notes available electronically at

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar

Week Description
Week 1 Course organization and computer system overview
Week 2 Encoding information in binary
Week 3 Computer memory
Week 4 Boolean algebra and combinational logic
Week 5 Sequential circuit design
Week 6 In-class midterm examination
Assessment Due: Midterm Exam
Week 7 AVR Architecture
Week 8 Instruction Set Architecture (AVR)
Week 9 Assembly programs
Week 10 Addressing Modes
Week 11 High Level Programming Constructs
Week 12 Subroutines
Week 13 Exam Simulation
Assessment Due: Project report
Assessment Due: Project Demonstration
Assessment Due: Project Presentation
Exam Period Final exam
Assessment Due: Final Exam

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Master of Professional Engineering (Electrical) 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Intelligent Information Engineering) 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Power) 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Software) 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Telecommunications) 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 2) No 0%
(7) Project and Team Skills (Level 2) No 0%
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 1) No 0%
(5) Interdisciplinary, Inclusiveness, Influence (Level 1) No 0%
(4) Design (Level 1) No 0%
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 2) No 0%
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 1) No 0%
(1) Maths/ Science Methods and Tools (Level 2) No 0%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.