Computer Systems Fundamentals - COMP1521

Faculty: Faculty of Engineering

School: School of Computer Science and Engineering

Course Outline: School website

Campus: Sydney

Career: Undergraduate

Units of Credit: 6

EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)

Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 6

Enrolment Requirements:

Prerequisite: COMP1511 or COMP1911 or COMP1917

CSS Contribution Charge: 2 (more info)

Tuition Fee: See Tuition Fee Schedule

Further Information: See Class Timetable

Available for General Education: Yes (more info)

View course information for previous years.


This course provides a programmer's view on how a computer system executes programs, manipulates data and communicates. It enables students to become effective programmers in dealing with issues of performance, portability, and robustness. It is typically taken in the semester after completing COMP1511, but could be delayed and taken later. It serves as a foundation for later courses on networks, operating systems, computer architecture and compilers, where a deeper understanding of systems-level issues is required.

Introduction to the systems-level view of computing, number representation, machine-level programming, representing high-level programs in machine code, memory, input/output, system architectures, operating systems, networks, parallelism/concurrency, communication/synchronisation. Labs and assignment work in C and machine code.

Study Levels

UNSW Quick Links