Introduction to Computing Systems (Fall 2020)

Welcome to CS 24! We’re super excited to have you here this term!

Due Soon

Project00 (disk) due @ 11:30 pm on Fri, Oct 02


Wellness and Inclusion

It is very important to us that you succeed in CS 24. We provide many extra resources to help you. Adam and the TAs hold many office hours, and we have a message board called campuswire.

It is also very important to us that you maintain your mental wellness throughout the course. A few points are not worth losing sleep over. Everyone on the course staff is available to chat, and you can always attend office hours for a non-academic conversation if necessary. You can also visit the counseling center if you find you need help beyond the course staff. If you have a temporary health condition or permanent disability (either mental health or physical health related), you should contact disability services if you have not already. Additionally, if there is something we can do to make your experience better, please let us know.

Diversity, inclusion, and belonging are all core values of this course. All participants in this course must be treated with respect by other members of the community in accordance with the honor code. If you feel unwelcome or unsafe in any way, no matter how minor, we encourage you to talk to Adam or one of the Deans. We view these sorts of honor code violations as completely unacceptable, and we take them very seriously.

Course Staff


he/him & they/them
Book an appointment!
Annenberg 115
(626) 395-1765

Teaching Assistants

Caleb Sander


The following is a list of handouts that you might find helpful throughout the course. We’ve categorized them by when they are useful.


Syllabus – an overview of the course and administrative information

Code Quality Guidelines – a list of style requirements for the projects

Tools of the Trade – tutorials for tools that you will need to use in this course

Manual Pages – documentation for relevant standard C functions

Weeks 2 & 3

x86-64 Reference – a description of relevant instructions and ABIs for x86-64


L00 Wed, Sep 30 Perspectives on Computing Systems
What is this course about? How will grading work? What will the notes look like? What is hexadecimal and why do I care? How do computers represent information?
L01 Fri, Oct 02 Fixed-Width Integers and Memory
How do computers represent integers? What about negative numbers? How does this affect me as a programmer? What does an abstraction for memory look like?
Project00 (disk) due @ 11:30 pm on Fri, Oct 02
L02 Mon, Oct 05 x86-64 Introduction
What is x86-64? Why should I care about assembly? How can I understand basic assembly programs and instructions such as mov and others?
L03 Wed, Oct 07 x86-64 Control Flow
How does branching work in x86-64? What is a label? How can we translate if statements and for loops into assembly?
L04 Fri, Oct 09 x86-64 Procedures
Project01 (jvm) due @ 11:30 pm on Fri, Oct 09
L05 Mon, Oct 12 x86-64 Optimization
L06 Wed, Oct 14 x86-64 Data
L07 Fri, Oct 16 Security: Buffer Overflows
Project02 (asmgen) due @ 11:30 pm on Fri, Oct 16
L08 Mon, Oct 19 Dynamic Memory: Basic
L09 Wed, Oct 21 Dynamic Memory: Advanced
L10 Fri, Oct 23 Garbage Collection
Project03 (shellcode) due @ 11:30 pm on Fri, Oct 23
L11 Mon, Oct 26 Linking and Loading
L12 Wed, Oct 28 ECF: Exceptions
L13 Fri, Oct 30 ECF: Processes
L14 Mon, Nov 02 ECF: Signals
L15 Wed, Nov 04 Locality & The Memory Hierarchy
L16 Fri, Nov 06 Cache Memories
Project04 (malloc) due @ 11:30 pm on Fri, Nov 06
L17 Mon, Nov 09 Virtual Memory: What & Why
L18 Wed, Nov 11 Virtual Memory: How
L19 Fri, Nov 13 Modern Processors and Performance
Project05 (gc) due @ 11:30 pm on Fri, Nov 13
L20 Mon, Nov 16 Security: Meltdown
L21 Wed, Nov 18 Git Internals
L22 Fri, Nov 20 Concurrent Programming: Processes & Threads
Project06 (meltdown) due @ 11:30 pm on Fri, Nov 20
L23 Mon, Nov 23 Concurrent Programming: pthreads & mutexes
L24 Wed, Nov 25 Concurrent Programming: condition variables & semaphores
:( Fri, Nov 27 No Class: Thanksgiving
L25 Mon, Nov 30 Concurrent Programming: Pitfalls
L26 Wed, Dec 02 Final Exam Review
L27 Fri, Dec 04 Victory Lap
Project07 (git) due @ 11:30 pm on Fri, Dec 04
Final (nocollab) due @ 11:30 pm on Wed, Dec 09