15-213/14-513/15-513: Introduction to Computer Systems (ICS)

Fall 2021

12 units

The ICS course provides a programmer's view of how computer systems execute programs, store information, and communicate. It enables students to become more effective programmers, especially in dealing with issues of performance, portability and robustness. It also serves as a foundation for courses on compilers, networks, operating systems, and computer architecture, where a deeper understanding of systems-level issues is required. Topics covered include: machine-level code and its generation by optimizing compilers, performance evaluation and optimization, computer arithmetic, memory organization and management, networking technology and protocols, and supporting concurrent computation.

Course Syllabus

Prerequisites: 15-122

What's New?

  • 18 July 2021.
    • First day of class is Tuesday, August 31.
    • Recitations will be in-class
    • No recitation on Monday, August 30 or Monday, September 6.
    • Lab 0 will be posted Tuesday, August 31 and is due Tuesday, September 7.
    • There will be a Linux Boot Camp on Sunday, September 5 at 6-8pm in GHC 4401 (Rashid Auditorium).

Getting Help

Piazza Piazza
Email Please use Piazza for help, instead of email. Posts to Piazza are private by default.
Tutoring TBD
Office Hours We use an online queue for both in-person and remote office hours.
  • In person: Please specify a room number when adding yourself to the queue.
  • Remote: Please specify a Zoom meeting ID and select the REMOTE tag in the queue.
  • If you are remote but do not select the tag, we reserve the right to kick you from the queue as we cannot filter your question to the remote TA's.
  • Sun 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM   WEH 5207 (Linux)
    Mon 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM   WEH 5201 (Mac)
    Tue 6:00 PM - 10:30 PM   WEH 5207 (Linux)
    Wed 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM   GHC 5th Floor Tables 5-6
    6:00 PM - 10:00 PM   WEH 5207 (Linux)
    Thu 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM   WEH 5202 (Windows)
    Fri 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM   GHC 5th Floor Tables 5-6
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM   WEH 5202 (Windows)
    In-person office hours for the Silicon Valley campus will be held Wed and Fri at 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM Pacific Time in B23 129B.
    Office hours for the professors are given below.

    Course Materials

    Schedule Lecture schedule, slides, recitation notes, readings, and code
    Labs Details of the labs, due dates, and policies
    Assignments Details of the written assignments, due dates, and policies
    Exam Information about the final exam
    Lab Machines Instructions for using the lab machines
    Resources Additional course resources

    Course Information

    For details See the course syllabus for details (below is just a few overview bits).
    Lectures See above
    15-213 Recitations
    Section A: Mon 10:10 AM - 11:00 AM, CFA 102
    Section B: Mon 10:10 AM - 11:00 AM, WEH 4708
    Section C: Mon 11:15 AM - 12:05 PM, CFA 102
    Section D: Mon 11:15 AM - 12:05 PM, MI 355
    Section E: Mon 12:20 PM - 01:10 PM, POS 145
    Section F: Mon 12:20 PM - 01:10 PM, WEH 4708
    Section G: Mon 01:25 PM - 02:15 PM, PH 225B
    Section H: Mon 01:25 PM - 02:15 PM, GHC 4101
    Section I: Mon 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM, GHC 4101
    Section J: Mon 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM, WEH 5328
    Section K: Mon 03:35 PM - 04:25 PM, BH 237B
    14-513 Recitations
    Section A: Mon 10:10 AM - 11:00 AM, CIC 1201
    Section B: Mon 11:15 PM - 12:05 PM, CIC 1201
    Section C: Mon 06:35 PM - 07:25 PM, CIC 1201
    Section D: Mon 12:20 PM - 01:10 PM, CIC 1201
    Section E: Mon 01:25 PM - 02:15 PM, INI DEC
    Section SV: Mon 03:35 PM - 04:25 PM (Pacific Time), B23 118
    Textbooks Randal E. Bryant and David R. O'Hallaron,
    Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective, Third Edition, Pearson, 2016
      Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie,
    The C Programming Language, Second Edition, Prentice Hall, 1988
    Credit 12 units
    Grading Composed from total lab performance (50%), total written assignment performance (20%) and final exam performance (30%).
    Labs There are 8 labs (L0-L7), not evenly weighted. See the labs page for the breakdown.
    Exam There is a final exam, held during exam week, closed book.
    Home http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~213
    Questions Piazza, office hours
    Canvas Canvas will be used (i) to handin written assignments, (ii) to post lecture videos, and (iii) to conduct ungraded, in-class quizzes. Your grading information will be kept up to date in Autolab, not in Canvas.
    Course Directory /afs/cs/academic/class/15213-f21/


    Name Seth Copen Goldstein Zack Weinberg Brian Railing David Varodayan
    Contact seth@cmu.edu zweinber@cs.cmu.edu bpr@cs.cmu.edu varodayan@cmu.edu
    Office GHC 7111 (PIT) GHC 4124 (PIT) GHC 6005 (PIT) B23 201B (SV)
    Office Hours Thu 3:00pm - 4:15pm Fri 1:00pm - 3:00pm or by appt Wed 1:30pm - 2:30pm Wed 12:00pm - 1:30pm (Pacific Time)