Welcome to CS 24! We’re super excited to have you here this term!
Please fill out the course survey. Note that you will have to log in with your Caltech account to fill in the survey.
Check out the course invitation links for course tools such as the discord and the discussion board.
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 Ed Discussion.
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 accessibility 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.
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
Collaboration Policy – the course collaboration policy
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||Mon, Sep 27||
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||Wed, Sep 29||
What does an abstraction for memory look like? Give me the details!
|L02||Fri, Oct 01||
How do computers represent integers? What about negative numbers? How does this affect me as a programmer?DS 4.1-4.7
|L03||Mon, Oct 04||
What is x86-64? Why should I care about assembly? How can I understand basic assembly programs and instructions such as mov and others?DS 7.1-7.3
|L04||Wed, Oct 06||
How does branching work in x86-64? What is a label? How can we translate if statements into assembly?DS 7.4
|L05||Fri, Oct 08||
x86-64 Loops & Data
Can you decipher the mystery programs? How do memory instructions work?DS 7.5-7.6
|L06||Mon, Oct 11||
How do function calls and returns work? What is 'the stack' really?DS 7.7-7.9, 12
|L07||Wed, Oct 13||
Security: Buffer Overflows
What happens if we read past the end of a buffer? How can we exploit this?
|L08||Fri, Oct 15||
Security: Buffer Overflows, Continued
Are there more sophisticated buffer overflow attacks? How do those work?
|L09||Mon, Oct 18||
Dynamic Memory: Basic
What does a "basic" implementation of malloc look like?
|L10||Wed, Oct 20||
Dynamic Memory: Advanced
How can we make a performant malloc implementation?
|L11||Fri, Oct 22||
Dynamic Memory: Garbage Collection
How does Python handle reclaiming memory?
|L12||Mon, Oct 25||
What is a process? How does Linux create, maintain, and destroy processes? How do shells work?DS 13.2, OSTEP 5
|L13||Wed, Oct 27||
How do programs that are misbehaving get dealt with? How does the kernel communicate to user programs that something important has happened?DS 13.4.1
|L14||Fri, Oct 29||
Memory: Locality & The Memory Hierarchy
How is memory unified into a seemingly giant array? What properties of programs make this work? How can we write good programs that take advantage of these properties?DS 11.1-11.2
|L15||Mon, Nov 01||
Memory: Cache Memories
|L16||Wed, Nov 03||
Memory: Virtual Memory
|L17||Fri, Nov 05||Security: Side-Channel Attacks|
|L18||Mon, Nov 08||Security: Meltdown|
|L19||Wed, Nov 10||
Concurrent Programming: Processes & Threads
|L20||Fri, Nov 12||
Concurrent Programming: pthreads & mutexes
|L21||Mon, Nov 15||
Concurrent Programming: condition variables
|L22||Wed, Nov 17||
Concurrent Programming: Pitfalls
|L23||Fri, Nov 19||Final Exam Review|
|L24||Mon, Nov 22||Victory Lap|
|:(||Wed, Nov 24||No Class: Thanksgiving!|
|:(||Fri, Nov 26||No Class: Thanksgiving!|
|L25||Mon, Nov 29|
|L26||Wed, Dec 01|
|L27||Fri, Dec 03|