Below is a preview of the week-by-week plan for the quarter. There may be adjustments and rearrangements as we go. Exam dates are set at quarter start and will not change.

In the readings listed below, B&O is Computer Systems (Bryant and O'Hallaron), K&R is The C Programming Language (Kernighan and Ritchie), and EssentialC is a PDF available at Do the readings before lecture for best effect!

Slides will be linked to below the night before a given lecture.

Assignment due dates listed below do not include grace periods, if any.

SCPD posts lecture recordings a few hours after live capture on under the "Course Videos" tab. (Note: we don't use Canvas for anything other than lecture videos in this class.)

Lecture Code

Any code examples worked in class will be posted after lecture into /afs/ir/class/cs107/samples/lectures/lect[N] where you replace [N] with the lecture number. You can make a copy to compile or modify by doing the following, which will make a folder in the current location called lect[N] that is a copy of the lect[N] code.

cp -r /afs/ir/class/cs107/samples/lectures/lect[N] lect[N]

If you'd prefer, you can also make a copy of all lecture code by doing the following, which will make a folder in the current location called lectures that contains folders for each lecture's code materials:

git clone /afs/ir/class/cs107/samples/lectures lectures

Using this approach, you can also easily keep up to date with all future lecture code. From within the lectures folder you created, you can run the git pull command at any time to "pull" any code from more recent lectures into that folder.

Topics Readings Assignments
Week 1
Lecture 1 (Mon 9/23): Welcome to CS107!
We'll go through course logistics, learning goals, and a tour of C programs.
Lecture 1 Slides
Handouts: 1 - General Information
B&O Ch 1 - skim this chapter for a quick overview of what is meant by systems, and for a preview of topics to come.
Out: assign0
No labs this week.
Lecture 2 (Fri 9/27): Integers
Topic 1: How can a computer represent integer numbers?
We'll learn more about the representation of the integer types: char, short, int, and long, in both unsigned and two's complement signed. We'll also discuss integer arithmetic, overflow, truncation and sign extension, and how mixed signed and unsigned comparison operations work.
Lecture 2 Slides
B&O Ch 2.2-2.3 - skim the formal proofs, but it's important to take away a solid working knowledge of two's complement and behaviors of integer operations.
Week 2
Lecture 3 (Mon 9/30): Bits and Bitwise Operators
We'll dive further into bits and bytes, and how to manipulate them using bitwise operators.
Lecture 3 Slides
B&O Ch 2.1
In: assign0
Out: assign1
Lab 1: Bits and ints Be sure to check out our guide to gdb.
Lecture 4 (Fri 10/4): Chars and C-Strings
Topic 2: How can a computer represent and manipulate more complex data like text?
We'll explore how strings and characters are manipulated in C using the char and char * types, discuss null termination, and become familiar with the string.h functions.
Lecture 4 Slides
Handouts: 1 - General Information
K&R (1.9, 5.5, Appendix B3) or Essential C section 3 for C-strings and string.h library functions. C-strings are primitive compared to Java/C++ strings, so take note of the manual efforts required for correct use and pitfalls to avoid.
Week 3
Lecture 5 (Mon 10/7): More C-Strings
Now it's time to start digging into the use of * and &, pointer operations/arithmetic, and memory diagrams. In lecture, we will trace through code, draw lots of pictures, and poke around in gdb.
Lecture 5 Slides
K&R Ch 1.6, 5.5 or Essential C section 3 on the mechanics of pointers and arrays. Pay special attention to the relationship between arrays and pointers and how pointers/arrays are passed as parameters.
In: assign1
Out: assign2
Lab 2: C-Strings Be sure to check out our guide to Valgrind.
Lecture 6 (Fri 10/11): Arrays and Pointers
Topic 3: How can we effectively manage all types of memory in our programs?
We'll answer questions like: how are arrays and pointers the same? How are they different? How is an array/pointer passed/returned in a function call? After this lecture, you'll understand how arrays and pointers allow two syntaxes for accessing sequential memory locations, but the underlying reality of the memory is the same.
Lecture 6 Slides
K&R 5.2-5.5 or Essential C section 6 on advanced pointers
Week 4
Lecture 7 (Mon 10/14): Stack and Heap
We'll learn about stack allocation, stack frames, and parameter passing. Then, we'll introduce dynamic allocation on the heap (malloc/realloc/free), heap contractual guarantees and undefined behavior.
Lecture 7 Slides
K&R 5.6-5.9 or Essential C section 6 on the heap. The key concept is comparing and contrasting stack and heap allocation.
In: assign2
Out: assign3
Lab 3: Arrays/Pointers
Lecture 8 (Fri 10/18): void *, Generics
Topic 4: How can we use our knowledge of memory and data representation to write code that works with any data type?
We'll continue comparing and contrasting stack and heap allocation. Then, we'll move on to untyped void * pointers and motivate C generics.
Lecture 8 Slides
still working through K&R 5.6-5.9 or Essential C section 6 on the heap.
Week 5
Lecture 9 (Mon 10/21): More Generics
We'll talk about function pointers, which allow us to implement generic operations using client callbacks.
Lecture 9 Slides
K&R 5.11, review man pages or your C reference to be introduced to generic functions in the C library (qsort, lfind, bsearch)
In: assign3
Out: assign4
Lab 4: void */Function Pointers
Lecture 10 (Fri 10/25): Floating Point
Topic 5: How can a computer represent real numbers in addition to integer numbers?
We'll learn about manipulating real-value data types (float/double) using the IEEE floating point representation. We'll also explore features and limitations of the floating point number line.
Lecture 10 Slides
B&O 2.4 on floats - it's ok to skim the details on exactly which bits go where, instead focusing on which values are representable and why)
Week 6
Lecture 11 (Mon 10/28): Intro to x86-64, Data Movement
Topic 6: How does a computer interpret and execute C programs?
We'll introduce assembly/machine language and find out what's happening underneath the hood of the C compiler, including a discussion of the x86-64 instruction set architecture and its almighty mov instruction. Then, we'll talk about addressing modes, data layout, and access to variables of various types.
Lecture 11 Slides
B&O 3.1-3.3 for background info on x86-64 assembly. Very carefully read B&O 3.4 on addressing modes and data transfer. The multitude of addressing modes is one of the things that puts the first "C" in CISC.
Be sure to check out our x86-64 guide.
In: assign4
Out: assign5
Lab 5: Floats
Hands-on float dissection
Friday, November 1, 11:30AM-1:20PM (note: full class period)
See the midterm info page for more information.
Week 7
Lecture 12 (Mon 11/4): x86-64 ALU and Condition Codes
We'll talk about arithmetic and logical instructions, as well as condition codes and cmp/test and jmp/jx instructions.
Lecture 12 Slides
B&O 3.5-3.6
Be sure to check out our x86-64 guide.
Lab 6: Assembly
x86-64 in all its glory
Be sure to check out our x86-64 guide.
Lecture 13 (Fri 11/8): x86-64 Control Flow
We'll see how to implement C if/else and loops in assembly, discuss other uses of condition codes (setx/cmov), and talk about procedures and the runtime stack.
Lecture 13 Slides
B&O 3.6
Be sure to check out our x86-64 guide.
In: assign5
Out: assign6
Week 8
Lecture 14 (Mon 11/11): x86-64 Runtime Stack
We'll introduce instructions for call/return, parameter passing, local stack storage, and register use. We'll also explore optimizing compiler transformations to reduce instruction/cycle count.
Lecture 14 Slides
B&O 3.7, 5.1-5.6
Lab 7: Runtime Stack
Fun explorations with the stack!
Lecture 15 (Fri 11/15): Managing the Heap
Topic 7: How do core memory-allocation operations like malloc and free work?
We'll see how the heap fits into the address space. We'll introduce design decisions for implementing malloc/realloc/free, as well as performance tradeoffs (throughput, utilization). Then, we'll compare and contrast stack and heap allocation.
Lecture 15 Slides
B&O Ch. 9.9 and 9.11 cover heap allocation implementation and memory misuses. There's lots of very useful detail in 9.9 for the heap allocator assignment!
Week 9
Lecture 16: (Mon 11/18): More Heap Management, Optimization
We'll continue discussing heap management and take a look at the compilation process and optimization done by GCC. This could be helpful for final tuning of your heap allocator!
Lecture 16 Slides
Optimally skim B&O Ch. 5
In: assign6
Out: assign7
Lab 8: Code and Memory Optimization
Experiments in optimization and profiling
Be sure to check out our CS107 guide to callgrind.
Fri 11/22 - No Lecture
Holiday: Thanksgiving Break
No Class Mon 11/25 - Fri 11/29
Week 10
Lecture 17: (Mon 12/2) Wrap-up
We'll wrap up the course themes, preview courses and opportunities post-107, and say some final words. Bring questions if you have them!
Lecture 17 Slides
No labs this week.
Fri 12/6 - No Lecture In: assign7
Week 11
Friday 12/13 8:30AM-11:30AM
See the final exam info page for more information.