Are you interested in a Computer Science course in which you will build your own computer (in a simulator), your own assembly language, compiler, operating system, and an application on top of all this? If you are already excited then this is just the course for you !
In a typical Computer Science program, we learn many key topics such as algorithms, computer architecture, operating systems, compilers, software engineering, etc. However, almost always, we learn all of these topics in isolation. This leaves a student with a lot of throretical knowledge, but often in the dark about how all these peices play together.
The Elements of Computing Systems - is a course which takes a student across the entire computing stack in a hands on manner. In this course, students start with the primitive NAND gate, and using a hardware simulator and HDL, they build basic gates, using which they build an ALU (Arithmatic Logic Unit), going on to building an actual computer (in simulation). Then they create an assembly language for this computer, followed by a high level language, an operating system, and finally a game using the language they created, on the machine they created.
In the process, students explore many ideas and techniques used in the design of modern hardware and software systems, and discuss major trade-offs and future trends.?
This course is a one of a kind course which unifies the most important concepts a student learns in Computer Science, in a fun and hands on way. The hands on approach is important because many of the topics covered in this course are dealt only at a theoretical level in most university courses.
This course was originally created by Professor Shimon Schocken, and Professor Noam Nisan. The creators of this course have very kindly made the content available online and through their book, so we can all benefit from it. Here is a link to the original course page.
Here is a 10 minute video where Professor Shimon Schocken talks about why he created the course and what it contains. Please note: I have embedded this video to give participants a better idea of the course. It does not mean that Prof. Schocken is endorsing the course on diycomputerscience.com.