Syllabus

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 http://cslibrary.stanford.edu/101. Do the readings before lecture for best effect!

Any code examples worked in class will be posted after lecture into /afs/ir/class/cs107/samples/lectN where N is the lecture number.

Slides will be linked to below the morning of a given lecture.

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

Topics Readings Assignments
Week 1
Lecture 1 (Mon 1/7): Welcome to CS107!
We'll go through course logistics, learning goals, and a tour of C programs.
Handouts: 1 - General Information
Slides: Lecture 1 Slides
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 (Tues. 1/8): assign0
No labs this week.
Lecture 2 (Fri 1/11): Integers
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.
Slides: 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 1/14): Bits and Bitwise Operators
We'll dive further into bits and bytes, and how to manipulate them using bitwise operators.
Slides: 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 1/18): Chars and C-Strings
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.
Slides: Lecture 4 Slides
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 1/21 - MLK HOLIDAY): VIDEO ONLY - 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 Video
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 1/25): Arrays and Pointers
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 1/28): 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 2/1): void *, Generics
We'll continue comparing and contrasting stack and heap allocation. Then, we'll move on to untyped void * pointers and motivate C generics.
still working through K&R 5.6-5.9 or Essential C section 6 on the heap.
Week 5
Lecture 9 (Mon 2/4): More Generics
We'll talk about function pointers, which allow us to implement generic operations using client callbacks.
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 2/8): Floating Point
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.
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)
Cool visualization
Week 6
Lecture 11 (Mon 2/11): Intro to x86-64, Data Movement
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.
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
MIDTERM EXAM IN-CLASS
Friday, Feb. 15, 12:30-2:20pm (note: full class period)
See the midterm info page for more information.
Week 7
Lecture 12 (Mon 2/18 - PRESIDENTS' DAY HOLIDAY): VIDEO ONLY - 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.
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 2/22): 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.
B&O 3.6
Be sure to check out our x86-64 guide.
In: assign5
Out: assign6
Week 8
Lecture 14 (Mon 2/25): 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.
B&O 3.7, 5.1-5.6
Lab 7: Runtime Stack
Fun explorations with the stack!
Fri 3/1: No Class, Nick out of town
Week 9
Lecture 15 (Mon 3/4): Managing the Heap
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.
B&O Ch. 9.9-9.11 covers heap allocation implementation, garbage collectors, and memory misuses. There's lots of very useful detail in 9.9 for the heap allocator assignment! 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.
Lecture 16: (Fri 3/8) GCC and Make
We'll take a look at the compilation process and optimization done by GCC, and take a deeper dive into Makefiles. This could be helpful for final tuning of your heap allocator!
Week 10
Lecture 17 (Mon 3/11): 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!
No labs this week. In (Thurs. 3/14): assign7
Fri 3/15: No Class, study day
Week 11
FINAL EXAM
Friday 3/22 12:15pm-3:15pm
See the final exam info page for more information.