252-0061-00L  Systems Programming and Computer Architecture

SemesterAutumn Semester 2019
LecturersT. Roscoe
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


252-0061-00 VSystems Programming and Computer Architecture4 hrs
Tue10:15-12:00HG E 7 »
Wed10:15-12:00NO C 60 »
T. Roscoe
252-0061-00 USystems Programming and Computer Architecture
Groups are selected in myStudies.
2 hrs
Wed13:15-15:00CHN D 42 »
13:15-15:00CHN G 22 »
13:15-15:00ETZ F 91 »
13:15-15:00ETZ G 91 »
13:15-15:00HG D 3.3 »
13:15-15:00LEE D 105 »
13:15-15:00ML H 34.3 »
T. Roscoe

Catalogue data

AbstractIntroduction to systems programming. C and assembly language,
floating point arithmetic, basic translation of C into assembler,
compiler optimizations, manual optimizations. How hardware features
like superscalar architecture, exceptions and interrupts, caches,
virtual memory, multicore processors, devices, and memory systems
function and affect correctness, performance, and optimization.
ObjectiveThe course objectives are for students to:

1. Develop a deep understanding of, and intuition about, the execution
of all the layers (compiler, runtime, OS, etc.) between programs in
high-level languages and the underlying hardware: the impact of
compiler decisions, the role of the operating system, the effects
of hardware on code performance and scalability, etc.

2. Be able to write correct, efficient programs on modern hardware,
not only in C but high-level languages as well.

3. Understand Systems Programming as a complement to other disciplines
within Computer Science and other forms of software development.

This course does not cover how to design or build a processor or
ContentThis course provides an overview of "computers" as a
platform for the execution of (compiled) computer programs. This
course provides a programmer's view of how computer systems execute
programs, store information, and communicate. The course introduces
the major computer architecture structures that have direct influence
on the execution of programs (processors with registers, caches, other
levels of the memory hierarchy, supervisor/kernel mode, and I/O
structures) and covers implementation and representation issues only
to the extend that they are necessary to understand the structure and
operation of a computer system.

The course attempts to expose students to the practical issues that
affect performance, portability, security, robustness, and
extensibility. This course provides a foundation for subsequent
courses on operating systems, networks, compilers and many other
courses that require an understanding of the system-level
issues. Topics covered include: machine-level code and its generation
by optimizing compilers, address translation, input and output,
trap/event handlers, performance evaluation and optimization (with a
focus on the practical aspects of data collection and analysis).
Lecture notes- C programmnig
- Integers
- Pointers and dynamic memory allocation
- Basic computer architecture
- Compiling C control flow and data structures
- Code vulnerabilities
- Implementing memory allocation
- Linking
- Floating point
- Optimizing compilers
- Architecture and optimization
- Caches
- Exceptions
- Virtual memory
- Multicore
- Devices
LiteratureThe course is based in part on "Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective" (3rd Edition) by R. Bryant and D. O'Hallaron, with additional material.
Prerequisites / Notice252-0029-00L Parallel Programming
252-0028-00L Design of Digital Circuits

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
In examination block forBachelor's Degree Programme in Computational Science and Engineering 2018; Version 13.12.2022 (Examination Block G2)
ECTS credits7 credits
ExaminersT. Roscoe
Typesession examination
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionThe performance assessment is offered every session. Repetition possible without re-enrolling for the course unit.
Mode of examinationwritten 180 minutes
Written aidsNo written aids allowed, except for a German-English dictionary.
If the course unit is part of an examination block, the credits are allocated for the successful completion of the whole block.
This information can be updated until the beginning of the semester; information on the examination timetable is binding.

Learning materials

Main linkInformation
Only public learning materials are listed.


252-0061-00 USystems Programming and Computer Architecture
Wed13:15-15:00CHN D 42 »
Wed13:15-15:00CHN G 22 »
Wed13:15-15:00ETZ F 91 »
Wed13:15-15:00ETZ G 91 »
Wed13:15-15:00HG D 3.3 »
Wed13:15-15:00LEE D 105 »
Wed13:15-15:00ML H 34.3 »


There are no additional restrictions for the registration.

Offered in

Computer Science BachelorCompulsory CoursesOInformation
Computer Science BachelorBasic CoursesOInformation
Computer Science Teaching DiplomaPart 1OInformation
Computational Science and Engineering BachelorBlock G2OInformation