cs24-21fa

Introduction to Computing Systems (Fall 2021)

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

Announcements

Due Next

Calendar

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.

Tools

Project Registration Office Hours Queue

Course Staff

Instructor

they/them
Book an appointment!
Annenberg 115
blank@caltech.edu
(626) 395-1765

Teaching Assistants

Hopper
she/her
hopper@
Jeffrey Ma
he/him
jjma@
An Tran
he/him
antran@
Anya Vinogradsky
she/her
avinogra@
Antonio Caceres
he/him
acaceres@
Bruno Freeman
he/him
bfreeman@
Daniel Bi
he/him
dbi@
Devin Chotzen-Hartzell
he/him
dchotzen@
Esmir Mesic
he/him
esmir@
James Bowden
he/him
jbowden@
Jonathon Corrales De Oliveira
he/him
jcorrale@
Josh Hejna
he/him
jhejna@
Jennifer Sun
she/her
jksun@
Jake Will
he/him
jwill@
Lucca De Mello
he/him
ldemello@
Meena Hari
she/her
mhari@
Rashida Hakim
she/her
rhakim@
Thai Khong
he/him
tkhong@

Handouts

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

Course

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

Schedule

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 Memory [ pdf ]
What does an abstraction for memory look like? Give me the details!
L02 Fri, Oct 01 Fixed-Width Integers [ pdf ]
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 x86-64 Introduction [ pdf ]
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
Project00 (disk) due @ 11:30 pm on Mon, Oct 04
L04 Wed, Oct 06 x86-64 Conditionals [ pdf ]
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 [ pdf ]
Can you decipher the mystery programs? How do memory instructions work?
DS 7.5-7.6
L06 Mon, Oct 11 x86-64 Procedures [ pdf ]
How do function calls and returns work? What is 'the stack' really?
DS 7.7-7.9, 12
Project01 (jvm) due @ 11:30 pm on Mon, Oct 11
L07 Wed, Oct 13 x86-64 Recursive Procedures
How does recursion work using the stack?
DS 7.7-7.9, 12
L08 Fri, Oct 15 Security: Buffer Overflows
What happens if we read past the end of a buffer? How can we exploit this?
L09 Mon, Oct 18 Dynamic Memory: Basic
What does a "basic" implementation of malloc look like?
Project02a (bomb) due @ 11:30 pm on Mon, Oct 18
:( Wed, Oct 20 No Class: Mental Health Break
L10 Fri, Oct 22 Dynamic Memory: Advanced
How can we make a performant malloc implementation?
L11 Mon, Oct 25 Dynamic Memory: Garbage Collection
How does Python handle reclaiming memory?
Project02b (asmgen) due @ 11:30 pm on Mon, Oct 25
L12 Wed, Oct 27 ECF: Processes
What is a process? How does Linux create, maintain, and destroy processes? How do shells work?
DS 13.2, OSTEP 5
L13 Fri, Oct 29 ECF: Signals
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 Mon, Nov 01 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 Wed, Nov 03 Memory: Cache Memories
DS 11.3
L16 Fri, Nov 05 Memory: Virtual Memory
DS 13.3
L17 Mon, Nov 08 Security: Side-Channel Attacks
L18 Wed, Nov 10 Security: Meltdown
L19 Fri, Nov 12 Concurrent Programming: Processes & Threads
OSTEP 26
L20 Mon, Nov 15 Concurrent Programming: pthreads & mutexes
OSTEP 27
L21 Wed, Nov 17 Concurrent Programming: condition variables
OSTEP 27
L22 Fri, Nov 19 Concurrent Programming: Pitfalls
OSTEP 32
L23 Mon, Nov 22 Final Exam Review
:( Wed, Nov 24 No Class: Thanksgiving!
:( Fri, Nov 26 No Class: Thanksgiving!
L24 Mon, Nov 29 Victory Lap
L25 Wed, Dec 01
L26 Fri, Dec 03