This course should develop students' sense of what really happens when software runs — and that this question can be answered at several levels of abstraction, including the hardware architecture level, the assembly level, the C programming level, and the Java programming level. The core around which the course is built is C, assembly, and low-level data representation, but this is connected to higher levels (roughly how basic Java could be implemented), lower levels (the general structure of a processor), and the role of the operating system (but not how the operating system is implemented).
For (computer science) students wanting to specialize at higher levels of abstraction, this could, in the extreme, be the only course they take that considers the “C level” and below. However, most will take a subset of , , , etc.
For students interested in hardware, embedded systems, computer engineering, computer architecture, etc., this course is the introductory course after which other courses will delve both deeper (into specific topics) and lower (into hardware implementation, circuit design, etc.). Of particular interest are , , , and .
The course has three principal themes:
At the end of this course, students should:
Approximate list of topics:
Note that even more important than the topics at various levels of abstraction is the connection between them: students should get an informal sense of how Java could be translated to C, C to assembly, and assembly to binary.
The course consists of the following elements:
We have structured the course so that spending a few hours per day will maximize your efficiency. You will work this way in the real world – you cannot cram a three-month design assignment into the last night – so you may as well work this way now. Plus, you will understand the material better. If you leave an assignment for the day before it is due you will not have time to ask questions when (not if) the software misbehaves.
We will compute your course grade as follows:
We will keep track of any extra credit items you complete on labs. You won't see these affecting your grades for individual labs, but they will be accumulated over the course and will be used to bump up borderline grades at the end of the quarter.
The bottom line is that these will only have a small effect on your overall grade (possibly none if you are not on a borderline) and you want to be sure you have completed the non-extra credit portions of the lab in perfect form before attempting any extra credit. They are meant to be fun extensions to the assignments, so if you complete some extra credit it *may* positively impact your overall grade.
All assignments are due at 11:59pm (and zero seconds) on the dates specified. This means that if your clock reads "11:59", then your assignment is late! In addition, online submission can be fickle, so we highly recommend making partial submissions as you go and not waiting until the last (literal) minute to submit.
Labs are due at the assigned due date. Late submissions are allowed through the end of the 4th day (or 96 hours) after the due date, but incur a late penalty of 20% per day late.
num_late_days = ceil(hours_late / 24).
In general, we encourage collaboration, but there is a very fine line between collaboration and cheating. We can learn a lot from working with each other and it can make the course more fun, but we also want to ensure that every student can get the maximum benefit from the material this course has to offer. Keep in mind that the overall goal is for *YOU* to learn the material so you will be prepared for the exams and for job interviews etc. in the future. Cheating turns the assignments into an exercise that is a silly waste of both your time and ours; save us both by not doing it.
Cheating consists of sharing code or solutions to assignments by either copying, retyping, looking at, or supplying a copy of a file. Examples include:
Cheating is a very serious offense. If you are caught cheating, you can expect a failing grade and initiation of a cheating case in the University system. Cheating is an insult to the instructor and course staff, to the department and major program, and most importantly, to you and your fellow students. If you feel that you are having a problem with the material, or don't have time to finish an assignment, or have any number of other reasons to cheat, then talk with the instructor. Just don't cheat.
If you are in doubt about what might constitute cheating, send the instructor an email describing the situation and we will be happy to clarify it for you. For more information, you may consult the department's .
Learning from our mistakes is often one of the most memorable ways of learning and the staff is not immune from making them, too! If you have a question about a graded assignment or exam, please don't hesitate to ask a staff member about it during their office hours. If, after discussing your question, you feel that your work was misunderstood or otherwise should be looked at again to see if an appropriate grade was given, we ask that you submit an electronic regrade request:
The is a unit within the Division of Student Life and is dedicated to ensuring access and inclusion for all students with disabilities on the Seattle campus. They offer a wide range of services for students with disabilities that are individually designed and remove the need to reveal sensitive medical information to the course staff. If you have a medical need for extensions of exam times or assignment deadlines, these will only be granted through official documentation from DRS. Browse to to start the process as soon as possible to avoid delays.
We recognize that our students come from varied backgrounds and can have widely-varying circumstances. If you have any unforeseen or extenuating circumstance that arise during the course, please do not hesitate to contact the instructor in office hours, via email, or private Piazza post to discuss your situation. The sooner we are made aware, the more easily these situations can be resolved. Extenuating circumstances include work-school balance, familial responsibilities, religious observations, military duties, unexpected travel, or anything else beyond your control that may negatively impact your performance in the class.
Additionally, if at any point you are made to feel uncomfortable, disrespected, or excluded by a staff member or fellow student, please report the incident so that we may address the issue and maintain a supportive and inclusive learning environment. Should you feel uncomfortable bringing up an issue with a staff member directly, you may consider sending or contacting the .