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Build a Modern Computer from First Principles: From Nand to Tetris (Project-Centered Course)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem via Coursera

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  • Provider Coursera
  • Subject Computer Science
  • $ Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Upcoming
  • Language English
  • Certificate Paid Certificate Available
  • Effort 5-10 hours a week
  • Start Date
  • Duration 6 weeks long

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Overview

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What you’ll achieve:
In this project-centered course* you will build a modern computer system, from the ground up. We’ll divide this fascinating journey into six hands-on projects that will take you from constructing elementary logic gates all the way through creating a fully functioning general purpose computer. In the process, you will learn - in the most direct and constructive way - how computers work, and how they are designed.

What you’ll need:
This is a self-contained course: all the knowledge necessary to succeed in the course and build the computer system will be given as part of the learning experience. Therefore, we assume no previous computer science or engineering knowledge, and all learners are welcome aboard. You will need no physical materials, since you will build the computer on your own PC, using a software-based hardware simulator, just like real computers are designed by computer engineers in the field. The hardware simulator, as well as other software tools, will be supplied freely after you enroll in the course.

Course format:
The course consists of six modules, each comprising a series of video lectures, and a project. You will need about 2-3 hours to watch each module's lectures, and about 5-10 hours to complete each one of the six projects. The course can be completed in six weeks, but you are welcome to take it at your own pace. You can watch a TED talk about this course by Googling "nand2tetris TED talk".

*About Project-Centered Courses: Project-centered courses are designed to help you complete a personally meaningful real-world project, with your instructor and a community of learners with similar goals providing guidance and suggestions along the way. By actively applying new concepts as you learn, you’ll master the course content more efficiently; you’ll also get a head start on using the skills you gain to make positive changes in your life and career. When you complete the course, you’ll have a finished project that you’ll be proud to use and share.

Taught by

Shimon Schocken and Noam Nisan

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Reviews for Coursera's Build a Modern Computer from First Principles: From Nand to Tetris (Project-Centered Course)
4.9 Based on 24 reviews

  • 5 stars 92%
  • 4 stars 8%
  • 3 star 0%
  • 2 star 0%
  • 1 star 0%

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  • 1
José S
5.0 3 years ago
José completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
A year before I took this course I had already read the part of the book on which the course is based and done most of the exercises, so the time I spent per week was mostly spent watching the videos and reading some additional material. Without preparation I assume it would have taken me about 5-6 hours per week.

I heartily recommend the book as well as the online course if you want to make the very rewarding experience of knowing from first principles how a computer can be built. The course is very focused and the architecture of the (virtual) computer cleverly chosen to allow t…
8 people found
this review helpful
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Farsan R
5.0 a year ago
by Farsan completed this course, spending 7 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Even with 1+ year professional experience in software industry it was not clear to me how a program written in high level language gets executed in machine level and "Nand to Tetris" is exactly the course that I was looking for. Building a computer from scratch sounds scary as computer is a complex machine consisting of memory unit, CPU, hardware devices and more than that you have to understand computer architecture to make them work together. True beauty of this course is it has perfectly organized all these complex topics in such a way that it becomes very easy for the learner to proceed st…
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Alex A
5.0 a year ago
Alex completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
Absolutely amazing course. The teachers are clear and easy to understand, the videos are high quality and contain great (and very useful) visual material to supplement the content. The graded assignments are quite difficult if you're new to low-level hardware, so you'll really rack your brain trying to complete them. I recommend buying the book as well, and reading the chapter before watching the videos for that chapter. I also suggest reading the discussion forums for help with assignments. This is an extremely high quality course in terms of content, assignments, and mind-blowing knowledge you'll obtain at the end. The assignments really help cement the ideas and concepts in your head - so it's not just a memorization experiment. Worth every penny.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Juneau L
5.0 11 months ago
by Juneau audited this course, spending 20 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
What I intrigued the most was the additional word after its title – ‘Project-Centered Course’. It seemed like the most effective way to get new knowledge in my head while not losing my focus and interest. I also love the concept. There is no prerequisite at all, and everything would be built one by one from the basis.

In this course, everything is provided and explained clearly. For a person who has no background such as myself, it might be a bit tough and watched several times repeatedly, and sometimes a bit of additional research is required. However, it is certainly achievable, and mostly enjoyable. The professors are kind-hearted and have a sense of humor.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Arman R
5.0 10 months ago
by Arman completed this course.
The BEST class I have ever taken online or offline. That is not hyperbole.

It does take some time though, but since your progress carries over from session to session you can go as slow as you want with no penalty. The instructors are clearly very interested in their course, and it has a great team of mentors and other classmates that generally answer any question quite quickly on the forums. If you ever were interested in how computers work from the ground up, or simply wanted a course that is beautifully project centered then look no further.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Mayank J
4.0 3 years ago
by Mayank partially completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Its one of the best course I've taken so far (Among Proglang at coursera).

You get to build the whole computer hardware in Part 1, from a Nand gate to building half adder to full adder to ALU to memory to CPU to assembler (and write some assembly code as well!)

I highly recommend this course to anyone whose serious about computer science. You can't beat this course in terms of "hands on"!

Just Fantastic!
3 people found
this review helpful
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Abhijit A
4.0 3 years ago
by Abhijit completed this course, spending 7 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
This is the first MOOC for which I have a verified certificate.

It revised my concept from engineering days and helped me understand sequential and computational circuits better.

The use of simulator give feel of developing actual computer and I was able to start taking more courses in computer architecture and assembly programming post this course.

1 person found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 2 years ago
Anonymous is taking this course right now.
It is a very good course. Thank you very much. Also the book is good too.

Also I highly recommend to read 'Code' by Charlez Petzold
3 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 a year ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Best MOOC every created. Period. The course is very well organized and the projects can be challenging but it is so rewarding to get it done. Just do it.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Node N
5.0 3 months ago
Node is taking this course right now.
This is absolutely best course I have ever taken in my CS career. I happily paid 49x2 dollars for this course and also bought the book .

In the world where Compluter Science education system is just making people literate by training them how to code, this course has enlightened me with various detailed aspect of the subject.

Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 3 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
This is a great course. It takes you on a full journey of starting with a simple virtual electronic gate and allows you to build virtual computer and add OS to it. How cool is that!

You'd learn a lot of interesting intricate details about hardware and computers. I very much recommend this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Shiraz S
5.0 12 months ago
by Shiraz completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
This is an amazing course and taught me lots about computer hardware architecture. I plan to take the second part very soon!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Pawel M
5.0 3 years ago
Pawel completed this course.
1 person found
this review helpful
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Gregory D
5.0 3 years ago
by Gregory completed this course.
1 person found
this review helpful
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Alex D
5.0 2 years ago
Alex completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Abhilash V
5.0 2 years ago
by Abhilash completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Сергей Б
5.0 2 years ago
by Сергей partially completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Aleksandr A
5.0 3 years ago
Aleksandr completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Alex K
5.0 2 years ago
Alex completed this course.
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Jon I
5.0 a year ago
by Jon completed this course.
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