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EP121U Computer Systems 7.5 credits

This course offers an introduction to computer systems from digital design, the principal components of a computer and its organization, to the virtual machine abstraction with compiler and operating system.

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For course offering

Autumn 2023 Start 28 Aug 2023 contract education

Application code


Headings with content from the Course syllabus EP121U (Spring 2022–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

The course gives an introduction to computer system from digital design, the main components of a computer and its architecture to the abstraction of a virtual machine with compiler and operating system.

Basic computer knowledge

  • Construction of logical components, composition of the processor and the hardware and machine code of the computer and assembler.
  • Virtual machine with a stack abstraction and compilation from VM to assembler.
  • Compilation from high-level language to virtual machine.
  • Fundamentals of operating system.
  • Commonly occurring architectures with instruction set, cache structures and process kernels, and speculative execution. 

Specialisation in selected aspects of operating system

  • Implementation of a command interpreter for a UNIX system.
  • Reverse compilation
  • The Linux kernel
  • Signals, Pipes

Intended learning outcomes

After passing the course, the student should be able to 

  • give an account of and discuss basic concepts for machine and software development of computers from logic to operating system
  • design a computer from the ground based on given parts and models 
  • use program tools to test a given design
  • give an account of the tasks that operating system carries out and be able to implement chosen parts of it

in order to carry out continued education against computer security.

Literature and preparations

Recommended prerequisites

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Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • KON1 - Partial exam, 2.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • PRO1 - Project assignment, 5.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course room in Canvas

Registered students find further information about the implementation of the course in the course room in Canvas. A link to the course room can be found under the tab Studies in the Personal menu at the start of the course.

Offered by

Main field of study


Education cycle

First cycle

Add-on studies

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