CSE 351: The Hardware/Software Interface

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Lab 0: C Warmup

Assigned Monday, April 1, 2013
Due Date Friday, April 5, 2013 at 5:00pm
Files See "Acquiring the code" below. (alternate arrays.c link for newly admitted)


The purpose of this assignment is to gain some basic experience with C programming, including such topics as arrays, stack allocation, heap allocation, function calls, and memory safety (or the lack thereof). It is a credit/no credit exercise, and should take a short time to finish.

Acquiring the code

The first thing to do is to acquire the code for this lab. Since we want to make sure you know how to move files between your machine and remote machines and vice versa, we have stored a file named arrays.c in a directory on attu. To connect to attu, you'll need to use the ssh command that is available from the terminal on any of the instructional Linux machines or the CSE home VM:

ssh [your-username]@attu.cs.washington.edu

Now navigate to the /projects/instr/13sp/cse351/ directory and look for the directory that relates to lab 0. A lecture on some basic Unix commands is available here if you need help with this step. Follow the subdirectories until you find the arrays.c file, which is what you'll need for the lab, and make a note of its location. In another terminal, use the scp command to copy the file to your local machine:

scp [your-username]@attu.cs.washington.edu:/path/to/arrays.c .

Make sure that the command you use has the final ".", since that describes where to store the file that you are copying.

Now that you have acquired the source file, open arrays.c in your favorite text editor. arrays.c file contains a number of TODOs, which you are expected to complete. Most have a proceeding line that says "Answer:", which is where you should leave an answer to the question(s) posed in the TODO. One TODO requires you to write some code, which you should place immediately after the comment block that describes what to do.

Compiling and running the code

The source file arrays.c won't do you any good by itself; you need a compiler (specifically the GNU C compiler) to compile it to an executable format. The GNU C compiler is available on attu, the instructional Linux machines, the CSE home VM, and most popular variants of Linux, such as Ubuntu and Fedora. You're free to use whichever machine you like, although we will only provide support for attu, the instructional Linux machines, and the CSE home VM.

Using any one of these machines, open a terminal and execute gcc -v. On my machine, here is what I see:

$ gcc -v
Using built-in specs.
Target: x86_64-linux-gnu
Configured with: ../src/configure -v --with-pkgversion='Ubuntu/Linaro 
4.6.3-1ubuntu5' --with-bugurl=file:///usr/share/doc/gcc-4.6/README.Bu
gs --enable-languages=c,c++,fortran,objc,obj-c++ --prefix=/usr --prog
ram-suffix=-4.6 --enable-shared --enable-linker-build-id --with-syste
m-zlib --libexecdir=/usr/lib --without-included-gettext --enable-thre
ads=posix --with-gxx-include-dir=/usr/include/c++/4.6 --libdir=/usr/l
ib --enable-nls --with-sysroot=/ --enable-clocale=gnu --enable-libstd
cxx-debug --enable-libstdcxx-time=yes --enable-gnu-unique-object --en
able-plugin --enable-objc-gc --disable-werror --with-arch-32=i686 --w
ith-tune=generic --enable-checking=release --build=x86_64-linux-gnu -
-host=x86_64-linux-gnu --target=x86_64-linux-gnu
Thread model: posix
gcc version 4.6.3 (Ubuntu/Linaro 4.6.3-1ubuntu5)

The output tells me a bunch of the configuration options for the my installation of GCC as well as the version number, which is 4.6.3. Assuming that you have saved the arrays.c source file somewhere on your machine, navigate to that directory, and then use GCC to compile it with the following command:

gcc -g -Wall -std=gnu99 -o arrays arrays.c

It's not that important right now for you to know what all of these options do, but -g tells the compiler to include debugging symbols, -Wall says to print warnings for all types of potential problems, -std=gnu99 says to use the C99 standard (now only 14 years old!), -o arrays instructs the compiler to output the executable code to a file called arrays, and arrays.c is the source file being compiled.

Having executed that command, you should be able to see a file named arrays in the same directory:

$ ls
arrays  arrays.c

The arrays file is an executable file, which you can run using ./arrays. On my machine, here is what I see:

$ ./arrays 
Filling an array at address 0x7fff6b4e3e60 with 10 values
Filling an array at address 0x7fff6b4e3eac with 1 values
Filling an array at address 0x7fff6b4e3e90 with 4 values
Filling an array at address 0x11ca010 with 5 values

If you look through the source code of the arrays.c file, you should be able to match up each line that is printed with the output that you see in the console.

With that, you should have everything you need to complete the assignment. Note that every time you want to test a modification to the source file, you will need to use the gcc -g -Wall -std=gnu99 -o arrays arrays.c command to produce an updated arrays executable file.

Checking your work

When you have finished the exercise, please take the time to ensure that your code both compiles without warnings (the GCC command will output lines that say "warning:" if you have warnings) and is readable. In particular, please try to make the format of your code match that of what was given to you.

Submitting the exercise

Once you have completed the exercise, submit your arrays.c source file to the Catalyst Dropbox for this lab.