Course details

Machine Level Programming

ISU Acad. year 2022/2023 Summer semester 6 credits

Current academic year

Numeral systems: signed and unsigned integer binary representation, binary arithmetic, real numbers in the IEEE-754 format. Assembly language: assembler, basic functions of a central processing unit (CPU). Specific CPU architecture: registers, memory organization, addressing, interrupt system, coprocessors, instruction set and instruction format. Programming in assembler: common control structures, compilation and linking of the code. Relation to the high-level programming languages: calling conventions, operating system services. Coprocessor: real number format, instruction set, programming of the floating point unit.


Course coordinator

Language of instruction

Czech, English


Credit+Examination (written)

Time span

  • 39 hrs lectures
  • 26 hrs pc labs

Assessment points

  • 60 pts final exam (written part)
  • 16 pts mid-term test (written part)
  • 24 pts numeric exercises




Subject specific learning outcomes and competences

Students acquaint with one specific processor architecture. They learn how to use the most important instructions of the processor and its coprocessor, programming of the control structures and they develop learn to develop simple applications (compilation and linking). They learn about calling conventions, some basic operating system services and how to call them. They learn how to practically use this knowledge. Students learn about processor architecture form the low-level programming point of view, which is one of the very basic skills of an IT professional. They learn how to develop simple applications or libraries in assembler and how to connect them to high-level programming language applications.

Learning objectives

To acquaint students with computer programming at the lowest level with focus at chosen processor architecture. To introduce and teach how to actively work with numeral systems, representation of the signed and unsigned numbers, arithmetic in the binary numeral system and representation of the real numbers. To familiarise with a specific processor architecture, its instruction format and addressing modes. To teach to actively work with the common control structures in assembler using given instruction set. To show the connection of programming at a low level and high-level programming via libraries and operating system services. To teach how to use floating point unit to calculate with real numbers.

Why is the course taught

Elementary knowledge about low-level processor functionality from a programmer's point of view is indispensable for a future IT expert. All programmers should know how does a processor work and how to program it at its instruction level.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Basic knowledge of the C language programming.

Study literature

  • Marek, R.: Assembler pro PC - učíme se programovat v jazyce, Computer Press, 2003, ISBN 80-7226-843-0
  • Duntemann, Jeff. Assembly language step-by-step: programming with linux. 3rd ed. Indianapolis: Wiley, 2009. ISBN 978-0470497029.
  • Irvine, Kip R. Assembly language for x86 processors. Seventh edition. Boston: Pearson, 2015. ISBN 978-0133769401.
  • Intel® 64 and IA-32 architectures software developer’s manual combined volumes: 1, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, and 4. Webové stránky společnosti Intel [online]. [cit. 2022-01-06]. Dostupné z:
  • The Netwide Assembler: NASM, Quick reference Guide [online]. [cit. 2022-01-06]. Dostupné z:

Fundamental literature

Syllabus of lectures

  1. Introduction, numeral systems, number specification, binary arithmetic.
  2. Basic functions of a processor, machine language, symbolic language, assembler.
  3. Processor architecture - registers, operand, instruction format, memory addressing, interrupts.
  4. Processor architecture - transfers, arithmetical and logical instructions.
  5. Processor architecture - shifts and rotations, control transfer.
  6. Processor architecture - other instructions.
  7. Mid-term written test.
  8. Basics of low-level programming, elementary control structures.
  9. Functions and calling conventions.
  10. Modular programming, libraries, operating system services.
  11. Coprocessor FPU - architecture, real number format, instruction set.
  12. Coprocessor FPU - instruction set, programming, examples.
  13. Compiler for assembler - pseudoinstructions, directives, expressions, operators, operands and macros.

Syllabus of computer exercises

  1. Numeral systems (numeral system conversions), number representation (signed integers).
  2. Compilation, linking and execution of an application in a command line environment. Debugging in an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and in a standalone debugger.
  3. Working with registers and memory (variables, arrays).
  4. Arithmetical instruction.
  5. Logical instructions, shifts and rotations.
  6. Test.
  7. Jump instructions, function calling and parameter passing via registers. Library for basic input/output operations.
  8. Basic control structures (if-then-else, while, do-while, for, switch-case).
  9. String instructions for array manipulation.
  10. Test.
  11. Function calling and calling conventions. Calling of services and functions of the operating system, calling of functions from the high-level language libraries.
  12. Programming of the FPU coprocessor.
  13. Test.

Progress assessment

  • mid-term written test
  • tests in computer exercises
  • at least 20 points earned during the semester
  • at least 25 points from the final examination

Controlled instruction

  • evaluated tests in the computer exercises
  • tests in the computer exercises missed by a valid proved reason (health issues or other valid reasons) will be compensated within the next computer exercise or another date set by the guarantor of the course

Exam prerequisites

At least 20 points earned during the semester.

Course inclusion in study plans

  • Programme BIT, 1st year of study, Compulsory
  • Programme BIT (in English), 1st year of study, Compulsory
  • Programme IT-BC-3, field BIT, 1st year of study, Compulsory
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