The Hardware/Software Interface :: CS 208 :: Winter 2020

calendar :: lectures :: labs

Contact Information

Instructor: Aaron Bauer
Email: awb
Office: CMC 135

Course Information

Course Classroom: CMC 301

Course Time: 4a (MW 12:30pm – 1:40pm, F 1:10pm – 2:10pm)

Visiting Hours:
Mondays 2:00pm – 4:00 pm in CMC 135
Tuesdays 8:00pm – 9:00pm in CMC 304
Thursdays 7:00pm – 8:00pm in CMC 304
(please come find me in my office or send me an email if you want meet another time!)

Course Staff: Danielle Eisen, eisend
Danielle's lab hours in CMC 306: Sundays 1:00 – 2:00pm, Thursdays 8:00 – 11:00pm

Course Texts: Bryant and O'Hallaron, Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective, 3rd edition (required) errata
Kernighan and Ritchie, The C Programming Language, 2nd Edition
It is important that you have the 3rd edition of the Bryant and O'Hallaron book, as it contains significant updates from prior editions

I recommend a good reference on the C programming language. There are many online resources of various quality. The suggested K&R book is a classic for good reason.

How to read for CS 208: we'll move quickly and cover a lot of ground, so it's important you come to class prepared. Assigned readings can be found on the course calendar. Before class, do an initial reading, but don't worry about understanding every last detail. The goal is to come in with a big-picture view and some basic familiarity. After class, revisit the assigned reading in more depth and attempt practice problems to check your understanding.

Announcements will be made via Moodle, so watch for those emails.

Programming Environment: This course will include work in C and x86-64 assembly. No prior experience with these languages is expected. The most lab assignments will need to be completed on a Linux machine with gcc and potentially other standard tools installed. Some labs will need to be done on the CS department's mirage server over SSH (see a tutorial for SSH here).

Course Links

Course Description

From the catalog:
Are you curious what's really going on when a computer runs your code? In this course we will demystify the machine and the tools that we use to program it. Our broad survey of how computer systems execute programs, store information, and communicate will focus on the hardware/software interface, including data representation, instruction set architecture, the C programming language, memory management, and the operating system process model.
By the end of this course, you should be able to:

Course Policies

Grading breakdown:

Percentage Letter
≥ 93 A
≥ 90 ≥ A-
≥ 87 ≥ B+
≥ 83 ≥ B
≥ 80 ≥ B-
≥ 77 ≥ C+
≥ 73 ≥ C
≥ 70 ≥ C-
≥ 67 ≥ D+
≥ 60 ≥ D
< 60 F
Course grade derivation: Course grades are computed by the sum of the points earned divided by the maximum total point. Course grade percentages are converted to letters as shown in the accompanying table. The minimum percentage required to achieve a given letter grade may be adjusted downward (only to students’ benefit), but never upward. If your percentage grade satisfies the constraint in the left column, then your letter grade will satisfy the constraint in the right column of the same row. Each student’s grade is determined independently without consideration of other students’ grades.

Late Policy: Deadlines will be given with each assignment. These deadlines are strict. There will be no credit for late work. For the entire term, you have four late days. You are advised to use them conservatively. On group projects you may only use late days if all members of the group have them available, and all members of the group will be charged for each late day used. They must be used in 24-hour (integer) chunks. One or more late days can be activated on an assignment by emailing me before the assignment is due. There is no penalty whatsoever associated with using a late day. This policy may not be the same as in your other classes. You are responsible for understanding it if you choose to submit late work.

A note on inclusivity:

please treat your classmates with kindness and respect, both inside the classroom and out. Classrooms can be vulnerable environments; asking questions and expanding our understanding of new concepts requires us to reveal over and over again that we don't fully know something. It's okay to not know everything immediately! It's not okay to make people feel bad about what they don't know. This can happen even in subtle ways - see this page for a few ideas on how to help create a friendly learning environment. Our individual differences enrich and enhance our understanding of one another and of the world around us. This class welcomes the perspectives of all ethnicities, genders, religions, ages, sexual orientations, disabilities, socioeconomic backgrounds, regions, and nationalities.

Academic Honesty and Collaboration:

Any work submitted with your name on it must be your work. Any group assignment must be your (plural) work. All group members must both fully contribute to the solution that you submit. (Not precisely about academic honesty, but still good guidance: receive your partner’s ideas as enthusiastically as possible, even if they may not initially seem like the obvious choice to you.) It is each student’s responsibility to speak to me in any situation where your group member is not being of sufficient help. You are required to completely understand any solution that you submit, and, in case of any doubt, you must be prepared to explain your solution to me. If you have submitted a solution that you cannot explain to me, then you have violated this policy (and so has your group!).

You may consult with other students to get help. You may not copy (either electronically or through transcription) other people’s work. It is of course appropriate for some ideas to be transmitted through “consulting-type” help, but code generally shouldn’t be word-for-word identical; plagiarism will not be tolerated in this class. You should never be in possession of a (paper or electronic) copy of a classmate’s code before the due date for the assignment. (Sharing code after the deadline is fine, as is sharing code with your group.) Another way to articulate this: when getting help, that consultation should be in English and not in code. You may refer to online manuals documenting C or assembly functions or perform Google searches to find the syntax for a particular language feature; you should include a comment at the relevant point in your program explaining the source you used (typically including the URL). You may bounce ideas off of classmates; if those conversations lead to insights, then you should cite your classmate. (This sharing and attribution of ideas is an example of a thriving course community!) Use your judgment and common sense to decide whether consultation with a classmate was sufficiently substantive that citation of your classmate is warranted. You should mention significant consultation with lab assistants (by name if possible!). Any amount of help that caused you to revise your program should be cited. Again: use common sense. It is never acceptable to submit a program that you have found elsewhere (via Google, a book, a friend currently/previously in this class, etc.). Changing variable names, altering indentation, and adding comments do not change the fact that such a program was not written by you. If you are ever unclear about how to represent what work you have done, (a) ask and (b) describe clearly what you have done.

Academic Accommodations:

Carleton College is committed to providing equitable access to learning opportunities for all students. The Disability Services office (Henry House, 107 Union Street) is the campus office that collaborates with students who have disabilities to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations. If you have, or think you may have, a disability (e.g., mental health, attentional, learning, autism spectrum disorders, chronic health, traumatic brain injury and concussions, vision, hearing, mobility, or speech impairments), please contact or call Jan Foley, Student Accessibility Specialist (x4464) or Chris Dallager, Director of Disability Services (x5250) to arrange a confidential discussion regarding equitable access and reasonable accommodations.