Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Build a Modern Computer from First Principles: Nand to Tetris Part II (project-centered course)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem via Coursera


In this project-centered course you will build a modern software hierarchy, designed to enable the translation and execution of object-based, high-level languages on a bare-bone computer hardware platform. In particular, you will implement a virtual machine and a compiler for a simple, Java-like programming language, and you will develop a basic operating system that closes gaps between the high-level language and the underlying hardware platform. In the process, you will gain a deep, hands-on understanding of numerous topics in applied computer science, e.g. stack processing, parsing, code generation, and classical algorithms and data structures for memory management, vector graphics, input-output handling, and various other topics that lie at the very core of every modern computer system.

This is a self-contained course: all the knowledge necessary to succeed in the course and build the various systems will be given as part of the learning experience. The only prerequisite is knowledge of programming at the level acquired in introduction to computer science courses. All the software tools and materials that are necessary to complete the course will be supplied freely after you enrol in the course.

This course is accompanied by the textbook "The Elements of Computing Systems" (Nisan and Schocken, MIT Press). While not required for taking the course, the book provides a convenient coverage of all the course topics. The book is available in either hardcopy or ebook form, and MIT Press is offering a 30% discount off the cover price by using the discount code MNTT30 at

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 15 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.


  • Getting Started
  • Machine Language
  • Virtual Machine I: Stack Arithmetic
  • Virtual Machine II: Program Control
  • High-Level Language
  • Compiler I: Syntax Analysis
  • Compiler II: Code Generation
  • Operating System
  • Postscript: More Fun to Go

Taught by

Shimon Schocken


5.0 rating, based on 3 Class Central reviews

4.9 rating at Coursera based on 498 ratings

Start your review of Build a Modern Computer from First Principles: Nand to Tetris Part II (project-centered course)

  • Has I said for the first part of the course, this course is perfect, look no further in the seemingly endless catalogue of great computer science courses that you will find on the internet. The units are immaculate, the presentation is totally spot…
  • Alex
    I completed the first course (nand2tetris pt.1) on Coursera and was extremely satisfied. With an extensive sysadmin/software background, the first course was absolutely mind-blowing, mostly because it focused on hardware and asm - things I knew noth…
  • Yechen Huang
    Completely Free and open source!

    Fantastic Course. Definitely one of the best Computer Science courses I have taken. The top-down approach to combine Programming Language, Algorithm, Computer Architecture, Software Engineering, Compiler, Operating System knowledge into one single course is just brilliant.

    Of course, if you want to really "Finish" the course with all the projects, you gonna spend a lot of time programming and debugging. But You are going to be proud of yourself once you have done that. And for me, it's absolutely worth it. You are really going to have a deep understanding of how programming language 'works' inside computers and become a much 'richer' programmer.

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.