Instructor: Kyle C. Hale
Office Hours: Wed. 4:30PM - 7:30PM (after lecture), or by appointment. (SB 237F)
E-mail: khale [at] cs [dot] iit [dot] edu
Chaoqi Ma (--)
Office Hours: Mon. 12:00PM - 1:00PM;
Tue. 1:00PM - 3:00PM (SB 004)
E-mail: cma17 [at] hawk [dot] iit [dot] edu
Zhihao Ai (L01)
Office Hours: Fri 2:00PM - 3:00PM (SB 108)
E-mail: zai [at] hawk [dot] iit [dot] edu
Stephanie Vaccaro (L01)
Office Hours: Fri 11:00AM - 12:00PM (SB 108)
E-mail: svaccaro [at] hawk [dot] iit [dot] edu
Hannah Greenblatt (L02)
Office Hours: Fri 4:10PM - 5:10PM (SB 108)
E-mail: hgreenbl [at] hawk [dot] iit [dot] edu
Luke Logan (L02)
Office Hours: Th 3:25PM - 4:25PM (SB 108)
E-mail: llogan [at] hawk [dot] iit [dot] edu
Shreyas Moudgalya (L02)
Office Hours: Fri 11:00AM - 12:00PM (SB 108)
E-mail: smoudgal [at] hawk [dot] iit [dot] edu
Course number: CS 350
Semester: Spring 2017
Lecture Time: Mod/Wed 3:15PM - 4:30PM
Lecture Location: Hermann Hall 002
Lab 01 Time: Fri 3:15PM - 4:05PM
Lab 01 Location: SB 108
Lab 02 Time: Fri 3:15PM - 4:05PM
Lab 02 Location: SB 112E/F
This course will be your entry into the world of computer systems. This is where you will begin to see the "nuts and bolts" of computers—how they're designed, how they're implemented, how they're programmed at the lowest levels, and how the whole system fits together. As such, this is a "bottom-up" course. By the end, when you write your high-level programs, whether they're in C, Python, Ruby, Node.js, or brainfuck, you should be able to reason about how the code you write turns into low-level operations on the hardware. You will be able to cut through levels of abstraction to gain a deeper understanding of how computer systems work. After finishing this course, you will no longer take for granted the mesmerizing array of languages and tools that "just work." The path will be open for you to become a practitioner of the dark arts of systems programming who shuns Clarke's third law and who, when in need of a Linux machine, writes it in C.
Note that CS 350 is a required core course for both the CS and CIS undergraduate curriculums
|6||Mon 2/13||Quiz 1||30 min||Lec 1-7, Lab 0-2|
|9||Wed 3/8||Exam 1||75 min||Apx 35% on Q1 material, 65% on Lec 8-14, Labs 3-6|
|13||Wed 4/5||Quiz 2||30 min||Lec 13-19, Lab 7-8|
|16||Wed 4/26||Exam 2||75 min||Apx 25% on Q2 material, 75% on Lec 19-end, Lab 9-end|
|Lab||Covers Lec||Due Date||Handout||Notes (TBP = To Be Posted)|
|0||---||None||Lab 0||Posted 1/8 (no hand-in)
Solutions posted 1/18
|1||1-2||2/2/2017 11:59PM||Lab 1||Posted 1/26; Solutions posted 2/6|
|2||3-4||2/9/2017 11:59PM||Lab 2||Posted 2/2; Solutions posted 2/12|
|3||5-6||2/17/2017 11:59PM||Lab 3||Posted 2/10; Solutions posted 2/22|
|4||7-8+||2/23/2017 11:59PM||Lab 4||Posted 2/16; Solutions posted 2/27|
|5||10-12||3/9/2017 11:59PM||Lab 5||Posted 2/23|
|6||--||3/23/2017 11:59PM||Lab 6||Posted 3/9|
|7||13-17||3/30/2017 11:59PM||Lab 7||Posted 3/24; Solutions posted 4/4|
|8||18-19||4/6/2017 11:59PM||Lab 8||Posted 3/30; Solutions posted 4/10|
|9||20-23||4/24/2017 11:59PM||Lab 9||Posted 4/13; Solutions posted 4/25|
|Final Project||---||4/28/2017 11:59PM||Final Project||Posted 3/31|
There are no required textbooks for this course. This means it is absolutely essential that you attend class, participate in discussions, and come to office hours. I am, however, recommending the following textbook for this course, as it is where the project will come from:
A classic book on introductory computer architecture. If you'd like to learn more about processor architecture, and would like to learn how to design your own control and datapaths (this book uses MIPS), this is a great resource:
A good book dedicated to logic design, which we cover in the first half of this course.
This is also a useful book to have on your shelf. It is a bit newer. It does not go into quite as much detail, but does guide you through building your own virtual computer:
This course takes a "bottom-up" approach to programming, in that we start from the principles of digital logic design and computer organization. You'll soon be taking CS 351, which is closely related and complementary to this course. If you want to get ahead, you should consider purchasing this book (you'll need it anyway) and skimming. There is a good deal of overlap, but from a slightly different perspective:
For this class, though our programs will be written in C on Linux, this is not a class on how to program in C on Linux. We'll spend some time in class looking at pointers and structures, but we won't cover all of the C and Linux you need for the course. You'll need to learn the rest on your own (or with other students (see Working Together On Labs below). If you are considering specializing in computer systems, e.g. computer architecture, operating systems, networking, and distributed systems, you'll find that a mastery of the C language is absolutely essential.
Here is a good interactive, online reference for learning C. If you can make it through this tutorial, you will likely be fine with C in this course. Here is a quick reference card for C syntax and common functionality.
The following book is one you will find on the shelf of any good systems programmer. It is the definitive reference for the original ANSI C language, written by its designers. While we will be mostly using the updated C99 specification of the language, it is still an excellent book to own:
Here is another decent book for learning C with a more practical bent. It is aimed towards people intending to build real, resilient systems with the C language:
Of course, the best way to learn a programming language is to see examples from master programmers. In this light, we will be looking at some examples from one of the most widely used and successful open-source codebases in existence, the Linux kernel. We will be looking at C design patterns used there, possibly including more advanced uses like object-oriented design patterns in C.
At this point, you are probably still used to using a Mac or a Windows system. In the CS world however, if you want to have any hope of being productive, you absolutely must learn to work in a UNIX-like environment (e.g. Linux, FreeBSD). I encourage you to use a desktop hypervisor (such as Parallels, VMware, or VirtualBox ), download a Linux distribution of your choice (Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE, and Arch are good choices), and boot it as a VM to get the lay of the land.
Probably the most useful skill you'll need to acquire is navigation at the UNIX command shell. Here is a good tutorial for that. Here is a nice reference that will allow you to look up commands that you encounter but do not know.
Here is a nice overview of UNIX programming, especially the design philosophies and common themes.
Here is a good book on programming in the UNIX environment, from the lowest levels:
For more advanced shell usage and Linux system administration:
You will be mostly writing C and assembly in this course. You are free to write it any way you like. You must, however, make sure it compiles and runs correctly on the course server, described below. You'll want to make sure that your compiler (gcc) is roughly the same version as that on the course server, otherwise you can expect strange differences. If you want to play it safe, just write your code on the course server.
We'll be using the server named
fourier.cs.iit.edu. If you have
registered for the course already, you should already have received an e-mail
notifying you of your account creation. If this is not the case, you need to let
me know ASAP!
The first lab will have details on getting on the machine to do your work. If you want to get started early, you'll first want to use a terminal emulator. If you're on a Mac, you can just use the Terminal application (or iTerm2, which has some bells and whistles). If you're on Windows machine, you'll want to use Cygwin, which emulates a UNIX-like environment. If you're using a Linux distro, you probably don't even need to be reading this section.
From your terminal, you can log in to the course server this way:
Note that the
$> ssh firstname.lastname@example.org
$>above simply indicates that you are sitting at a terminal (it represents the prompt). You will probably see something different, depending on which machine and which shell you're using. For example, you might see a prompt like:
The command you enter actually starts with the
If you are not familiar with navigating in a command-line environment, now is the time. The sooner you wean yourself off a GUI-based point-and-click environment, the better off you'll be moving forward in your systems classes. See the Linux section for some pointers on how to get started.
This is a list of other resources that you might find useful for this class and for doing work in the systems area in general. Feel free to peruse them at your own convenience.
These books are not all technical, but are broadly applicaable to computer systems, science, engineering, and programming.